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Chocolate Cheesecake with Ghostly Pears
This really is a show-stopper of a pudding, prepare to be wowed! Plus, it makes a devilishly good Halloween treat.
For the poached pears:
150g (5oz) caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced
300ml (1/2pt) apple juice
3 conference pears, peeled
For the base:
1 x 154g pack Oreo chocolate cookies, crushed
25g butter, melted
For the filling:
12 butterscotch candies
6 gelatine leaves
300ml (1/2pt) double cream
100g icing sugar
600g (1 1/4lb) light cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g dark chocolate, melted
4 Oreo chocolate cookies
Put the sugar, lemon juice, apple juice and 300ml (1/2pt) water in a saucepan just large enough to fit the pears snugly. Heat for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved, then immerse the pears. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Chill until needed.
For the base, line a 20cm (8in) springform cake tin with nonstick baking paper. In a bowl, stir the crushed cookies into the melted butter. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down. Chill for 20 minutes or until firm.
For the filling, put the butterscotch in a blender and whizz to a fine crumb. Set aside.
Soak the gelatine in water for 5 minutes until softened. Remove from the water and squeeze out any excess liquid, then heat in a small pan until melted. Set aside.
Whisk the cream and icing sugar, until thickened. Whisk in the cream cheese and vanilla, then stir in the butterscotch and gelatine. Spoon the mixture over the biscuit base and chill for at least 4 hours, until set.
Cover a work surface with a large sheet of nonstick baking paper. To decorate, pour the melted chocolate over the baking paper and, using a palette knife, spread it out in a thin layer, about 3mm (1/8in) thick. Leave to set for 30 minutes, then slice into thin shards, roughly 2cm (1in) higher than the cake. Reserve a little chocolate to make the ghostly pears’ eyes and mouths.
Drain the pears and pat dry with kitchen towel. Using a sharp knife, carefully shape the reserved chocolate into three pairs of eyes and three oval shaped mouths and stick to the chilled pears (afix with a little melted chocolate, if needed.)
Run a palette knife around the cake to release it from the tin; transfer to a cake stand. Press the chocolate shards into the edges of the cake, all around.
Crush the remaining 4 cookies to crumbs and scatter over the cake. To serve, sit the ghostly pears in the centre of the cake.