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The poached pears in this autumnal cheesecake look so inviting poking up through the layers of chocolate and chestnut. The chocolate glaze is worth trying on other cakes, too. Chill the cake before pouring over the glaze to freeze-frame the chocolaty drips.

Posted by Hardie Grant from London, United Kingdom • Published See Hardie Grant's 83 projects » © 2021 April Carter / Hardie Grant Books · Reproduced with permission. · Decorated by April Carter (Hardie Grant, £20.00) Photography: Danielle Wood
  • Step 1

    To poach the pears, peel, leaving the stalks intact, then slice off the bottoms and hollow out to remove the core and seeds. Pour the sugar and 1 litre (34 fl oz) cold water into a large saucepan and heat
    gently to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally.

  • Step 2

    Add the pears to the saucepan and place some baking parchment onto the surface of the syrup and a lid on the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Leave the pears in the syrup and set aside to cool.

  • Step 3

    To make the base, line the cake tin with cling film (plastic wrap). Place the digestive biscuits in a plastic bag and crush into crumbs with a rolling pin or the back of a wooden spoon. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the crushed biscuits and cocoa powder. Press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake tin, making the base slightly higher at the sides. Chill for 20 minutes or until firm.

  • Step 4

    Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the chocolate by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the
    chocolate until it is almost melted, then remove the pan from the heat. Remove the bowl from the saucepan to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t become overheated, and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted then set aside to cool.

  • Step 5

    Place the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl and beat by hand to combine. In a clean bowl, whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks and fold into the cream cheese mixture. Split the cream cheese mixture into 2 bowls and fold the melted and cooled
    chocolate into one half, and the chestnut spread into the other half.

  • Step 6

    To assemble, spread the chocolate filling over the chilled base. Plunge the poached pears into the chocolate filling and chill for 20 minutes or until firm. Spread the chestnut filling over the top of the
    chocolate filling and chill again for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • Step 7

    Just before serving, make the chocolate glaze. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water as before. Set aside to cool slightly. Remove the cheesecake from
    the cake tin and set on a serving plate or cake stand. Pour over the chocolate glaze and serve.

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