Chestnut Caramel Cheesecake

Sugar plums are nice but visions of cold winter nights, a roaring fireplace, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts dance in my head.  Especially during the holidays, chestnuts are a traditional holiday treat I always look forward to.  They become first available in the fall but I normally wait to purchase them until the holidays and through the winter months.

There are many uses for chestnuts; my mother added it her stuffing, I’ve made chestnut soup, and my simple favorite way is pulling out a pan of roasted chestnuts, wrapping them in a towel and serving them with warm brie and freshly baked bread.  As for desserts, a puree of chestnuts swirled into cheesecake, with a touch of rum in a gingersnap, chestnut crust is simply divine.

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Chestnut Cheesecake.  It’s flavor is subtle and not too sweet.  I topped the cheesecake with roasted chestnuts and a drizzle of caramel.

Chestnut Caramel Cheesecake

adapted from Epicurious, by Nigella Lawson

For the crust:

4 ounces (2 cups) Gingersnap cookie crumbs

1/2 stick butter

1 heaped tablespoon sweetened chestnut purée

For the cheesecake:

2 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

3 egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1–2 tablespoons rum

1 cup sweetened chestnut purée

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees.  Place a baking pan on the bottom rack filled with water in the oven.  This will ensure moisture in the oven.

For the base, process the crackers, butter and heaped tablespoon chestnut purée until like fine crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan and place in the fridge while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth and add the sugar. Add the eggs and egg yolks, beating them in one by one until they are incorporated into the cream cheese and sugar. Pour in the sour cream, lime juice, vanilla extract and rum, and beat again until smooth and creamy. Finally fold in the sweetened chestnut purée. Don’t worry about making it fully mixed, smooth cream cheese with grainy streaks of chestnut is fine.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust and place in the oven.  When the cheesecake is ready it should be just set on top with a hint of wobbly center. Take the cheesecake out of the oven  and run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it from the sides.  Allow to cool on a rack and refrigerate overnight.

The next day remove the cheescake from the pan and top with the chestnuts.  Drizzle caramel sauce over the top and refrigerate until serving time.

To make the topping:

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup rum

1 tablespoon sweetened chestnut purée

1/4 cup superfine sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup shelled roasted chestnuts roughly chopped (recipe below)

Combine all of the syrup ingredients except the chestnuts into a saucepan and melt together. Let the syrup boil for 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature mix in the chestnuts and set aside.

To roast chestnut:  Wash in cold water and allow to soak for about 20 minutes.  On the flat surface of the chestnut cut a X shape with a knife.  Place on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Roast for 15-25 minutes depending on their size.  Remove from the oven when they feel tender and place in a paper bag or towel to cool about 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.  Peel while still warm.

50 thoughts on “Chestnut Caramel Cheesecake

  1. I’ve never roasted chestnuts but this cheesecake looks like it is a good reason to give it a go. How was your Christmas?! I certainly hope it was WONDERFUL! I finally started my own FB page for Sweet and Crumby and separated it from my personal page. We’ll see how it goes. Us tech challenged folks are always trying to catch up to the herd!

    1. I see you are using Twitter also! I definitely need to figure out the FB page; any tips would certainly be welcome. I’m surprised you’ve not roasted chestnuts – surely once you do, you will be creating all kinds of wonderful desserts!!

      1. Merry Christmas to both of you! Linda, you’ve got some awesome recipes on here….thanks for posting the S cookies and tutus. You bring back my childhood every time I visit your blog!

  2. I love roasted chestnuts by an open fire! It brings back wonderfu memmories when I was in Italy one Christmas with my family. My grandma has a fireplace in her kitchen and we always would sit around the fire eating and drinking! This cheesecake looks amazing especially the rum glaze, mmmm you sure have the best dessert recipes!

  3. Oh this looks fabulous Linda! I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten chestnuts before. They do look amazing though. And I really like the thought of them with brie. 🙂 I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas! We enjoyed your calamari and walnut herb pasta very much!!!!

  4. I’ve just been learning how to roast chestnuts and now here is one more excellent reason I should do so:) I love your photo.. the sweet, drippy bits… oh, my goodness, I wish I could have just a little taste right now:)

  5. I love chestnuts and I love cheesevake but have never thought of combining them. The photo looks stunning, so am sure the taste is even more incredible. Maybe I will make this for New Year´s Eve!

  6. I have never eaten chestnuts, but this sure makes me want to try them! We had New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake for Christmas this year (usually a birthday request), cheesecake of any kind is a wonderful way to celebrate! Yours looks amazing 😀

  7. Your cheesecake sounds wonderful, Linda, and I bet your topping really “makes” it. Just look at it! Mom used chestnuts in her stuffing and roasted chestnuts signified that particular holiday meal was officially over. None of the adults left the table but this was Mom’s chance to, finally, remain seated and enjoy everyone’s company. Her kitchen was closed!

    1. I’m alot like your mother then!! After cooking/baking for Xmas Eve and Xmas Day, I told the kids the kitchen is filled with leftovers and officially closed from any further cooking from me!! We too sit down to chat and crack nuts after dinner; it’s always a special time I enjoy alot! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  8. What a fabulous way to celebrate chestnuts! I’ve never had a chestnut crust before – how cool – and the filling sounds wonderful with the addition of rum and lime… Beautiful presentation Linda. I hope you’re enjoying the holiday.

  9. Cheesecake is never wrong Linda 😀 Chestnuts aren’t my favourite thing in the world (bad childhood memories), although I do eat them from time to time. I think I might be a bit naughty and put walnuts or pecans on top instead of or as well as the chestnuts and then……… bliss 🙂

    1. Isn’t that funny how childhood bad memories can ruin a good thing!! Try again one day Charles, you just may fall in love..or at least not totally dislike them!! But of course, this would be tasty with walnuts or pecans instead!!

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