The market is full of a large selection of fresh pears at great prices.  I bought a case and wanted to add fresh pear to my dessert at Cal-Wood this week.  After considering many desserts I finally decided on a cheesecake.   Erik one of the teachers at Cal-Wood and an all around good guy is allergic to chocolate.  It seems like every dinner he works at the lodge I am serving some sort of chocolate dessert so I was inspired to design a dessert without chocolate and since he mentioned he loved pears this combo was just the ticket.

Erik and Jamie at a Staff Party

This is a picture of Erik and one of our interns Jamie at a staff party we had at the lodge recently.  One of the things that makes working for Cal-Wood enjoyable is the staff.  This diverse group of dedicated individuals never seem to bore me.  I  cook for the staff as well as the guests at Cal-Wood since they eat most of their meals at the lodge when working and I  want to make sure the meals are not too repetitive. and always yummy.  I admire all the hard work the teaching staff at Cal-Wood put in working with the kids that come up for our outdoor education program so I make an effort to cater to them as well as our guests.

Pear Cheesecake with Maple Glaze

·         For Crust

    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus       room-temperature butter for pan
    • 8 oz vanilla wafers or animal crackers
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

·         For Filling

    • 2 1/2 pounds bar cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup sour cream

·         Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make cracker/cookie crust: Butter a 9-by-3-inch spring form pan. In a food processor, pulse crackers until fine crumbs form; add melted butter, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pan. Bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Fill small pot on stove with 4 cups water to boil. Make filling: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy periodically scraping down side of bowl. Add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in maple syrup and sea salt. Beat in eggs scraping down side of bowl after each addition and add sour cream.
  3. Wrap bottom half of pan in foil. Pour in filling; place in a casserole pan with at least 1 inch sides. Place Pear slices on top of cheesecake mixture laying them in a tile pattern around the top.  Dust with nutmeg or cinnamon.  Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of spring form. Bake until just set in center, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Cover; chill overnight before serving.  Drizzle with real maple syrup just before serving.