Petite Pistachio Cheesecake

5/05/2021 09:58:00 PM

Petite Pistachio Cheesecake. A perfectly petite, super-rich and creamy baked cheesecake, full of delicious pistachios. The pure pistachio flavour comes from roasted salted pistachios in the base, and pure pistachio butter in the filling. Total luxury, and not a drop of essence in sight!

Pistachio Cheesecake, Pistachio Slivers, Pistachio Gelato
Pistachio Cheesecake, Pistachio Slivers, Pistachio Gelato

I love pistachio desserts. Absolutely love them. However, I only came to this realisation relatively recently in life. It was when Piccolina opened back in 2016, and I tried their life-changing pistachio gelato, which really just tastes of pure roasted pistachio nuts. (It's still my favourite!) Prior to that, I always thought of pistachio desserts as having that horrible synthetic, medicinal almond essence flavour - blergh. But a dessert or pastry made with real pistachios? Yes please!

This love of pistachios also led me to splash out on a $19 jar (eep) of pure pistachio butter when we saw it at the market a few months ago. We wanted to buy some pure nut butters (no salt, sugar or other additives) for the baby, and when I saw they had pistachio as well, I had to get it. The brand is Noya Nut Butter (not sponsored), and it is good stuff. It's pure roasted pistachios, ground into a paste. Just look at it! So intense! So amazing! I like having it on toast. I think it might be too creamy and liquid to be used successfully in a pistachio frangipane (the type you might use to fill croissants), but I haven't experimented with that yet.

Noya Pistachio Butter
Noya pure pistachio butter

I often see pistachio desserts pop up on Pinterest (as soon as Pinterest realises you like a particular topic, the algorithm keeps throwing related links at you), but the vast majority of recipes include store bought pistachio pudding, which I believe is a uniquely American product - I've never seen it here. I have no idea what it would taste like, but looking at the ingredients list I see that it's mainly sugar, with cornstarch, almonds, artificial flavour, thickening agents and salt, only then followed by pistachios and artificial colouring. So I'm picturing something sweet and with a strong artificial almond essence flavour. Probs not my thing. However, a good friend of mine, who is American, says she LOVES Jello-O brand pistachio pudding and that it tastes of pistachio, with small pieces of actual pistachio in the pudding. Consider my curiosity piqued! (If anyone else has tried and it can describe it, please let me know in the comments below - I wanna know!)

But back to this pistachio cheesecake. I clicked through on Pinterest to the lovely blog Buttermilk by Sam, and was thrilled to see that her pistachio cheesecake recipe had real pistachio butter in the ingredients list! It also had a combo of cream cheese and sour cream in the mixture (just like my favourite cheesecake recipe) so I figured it would be worth trying!

I made a few adaptations to the recipe, halving the quantities (partly because only four of us would be eating, partly because I didn’t want to waste the expensive pistachio butter in case I stuffed it up), and adding salted roasted pistachios to the biscuit base for an extra pistachio hit. My scaled down version of Buttermilk by Sam’s original recipe is below (and converted to metric weight measurements, yay) in case you want to give the petite version a go as well!

I loved the bright green flecks of pistachio in the biscuit base. I used thirty salted roasted pistachios, because that was as many as I could be bothered peeling that day, hah. I think it could do with even more pistachio, but also recognise that pistachio-peeling-induced fatigue is a thing, so I've suggested a range of amounts for the pistachio in the base.

Pistachio cheesecake base
Pistachio Cheesecake Base

Check out how creamy and beautiful the filling is! Leave yourself a little mixture in the bowl to taste - it's so good.

Pistachio Cheesecake Filling
Pistachio Cheesecake Filling

Here it is, ready to go in the oven. I also love Sam's idea of using a baking tray filled with hot water on the shelf below the cheesecake to replicate the water bath, without the hassle of having to wrap the cake tin in glad wrap and foil and worrying about water seeping in. (I believe doing a proper water bath, with the springform tin IN the tray of hot water, will give you an even smoother result, but I found her separate shelf trick to be a good and quick compromise!)

Pistachio cheesecake, ready for baking
Pistachio cheesecake, ready for baking


Pistachio Cheesecake
Pistachio Cheesecake, after being chilled

Holy moly, this was an indulgent cheesecake! I actually baked it for my birthday dinner but didn’t have time to let it chill completely before we ate it the first time. When warm, it was very gooey and honestly a bit too sweet for me. But once chilled overnight, the cheesecake goes dense and creamy and is even more delicious. I ate more slices throughout the week and will say that for ultimate eating pleasure, you should let the chilled cheesecake sit out of the fridge for a little while before eating it - straight out of the fridge it’s quite dense and the flavour is muted, but once it comes to room temperature, it goes lusciously creamy and the flavour comes alive.

Pistachio Cheesecake
Pistachio Cheesecake

As you can see from the top photo, I gilded the lily by serving the cheesecake with pistachio gelato (Piccolina, obviously) and strewn with pistachio slivers. It was an amazing combo. Go hard or go home!

Petite Pistachio Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Buttermilk by Sam

For the base
125 grams digestive biscuits
1 tablespoon sugar
20-40 roasted salted pistachios, shelled (amount to taste or as many as you can be bothered shelling)
60 grams unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
125 grams caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160 grams pure pistachio butter
140 grams sour cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 160C. Spray the inside of an 18cm springform tin with cooking oil spray and line the base and sides with baking paper.
To make the base, whizz up the digestive biscuits in a food processor. Add the sugar and the roasted salted pistachios and whizz a few times to break up the pistachios. Add the butter and whiz until combined.
Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, and press evenly across the base and halfway up the sides of the tin. Place in the fridge while you make the filling.
To make the filling, clean the food processor and whizz the cream cheese, caster sugar salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the pistachio butter and whizz to combine smoothly. Add the sour cream, egg and lemon zest, and whizz until completely smooth.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared base and even out the top.
Place a baking dish half-filled with hot water from the kettle on the bottom shelf of the oven. Place the prepared cheesecake tin on the middle shelf. Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and mostly set, with a little jiggle in the centre. Allow to cool in the oven for an hour or so, then bring it out and cool it completely on the counter, then refrigerate overnight.
Allow to come to room temperature for the best texture before serving it.
Serve plain, or with pistachio gelato and extra slivered pistachios for pure pistachio indulgence.
Makes 1 x 18cm cheesecake

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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