syrup 5 firm pears 100mg McKenzie's Tas-Saff infused saffron threads 750g caster sugar ½ vanilla bean 10 cardamom pods, crushed 1 small cinnamon stick 1L water
Base 250g plain sweet biscuits ½ cup blanched almonds 125g melted butter
Filling 800g ricotta cheese 4 eggs 1 cup sugar
The night before you intend to serve the cheesecake, prepare the pears and syrup. Peel and core the pears. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the saffron, sugar, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon and water. Bring to the boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat. Immerse pears in the liquid and gently poach for around 2 hours.
Remove saucepan from heat and leave pears immersed in the liquid overnight to strengthen flavours.
Remove pears, return pan to heat and simmer to reduce syrup to a sticky glaze.
Preheat oven to 180°C. To make the base, process the biscuits and almonds into crumbs. Add butter and process a little longer. Press into the base of a lined 28cm cake tin.
For the filling, combine the ricotta, eggs and sugar. Beat until smooth.
Arrange pears on top of the biscuit base in the prepared tin. Pour cheese filling over the pears.
Bake at 180°C for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool in tin before turning out.
Lastly, spoon syrup over the cake to serve.