I was intent on getting some tender, sweet and dense Bosc pears for a dessert that had been running round and round inside my head and wouldn't leave me alone; a pear and candied ginger cheesecake. The family had been complaining about the dearth of desserts lately. Mutiny was in the air and I honestly had run out of ideas for tarting up vanilla ice cream.

After trawling three markets and two supermarkets and coming up empty, temptation presented itself in the form of canned pears. Ordinarily I would happily use canned ones as pears, of all fruit, seem to best survive the canning process and often, those which are almost woody and tasteless when fresh, actually improve when subjected to such brutality! Not today though; I wanted my beautiful Boscs or I wanted nothing, or so I thought. I had given up on the idea and was about to leave for home when I saw a fruit bin filled with these ivory and scarlet beauties.

Really? Not just no Bosc pears, but absolutely no pears whatsoever, in October, but instead, a pile of luscious nectarines in front of me. What is our world coming to?!?! Visions of sliced nectarines scented with a shower of cinnamon and lightly sweetened with the softest brown sugar, bubbling under a crust that tasted of buttery ginger snaps began to taunt me.

So, if life hands you nectarines when you were dreaming of pear cheesecake and after seeing nectarines, you still want cheesecake yet a gently spiced fruit crumble sounds equally enticing, what do you do? Maybe, you make this....

The recipe isn't difficult but definitely more involved than what I tend to gravitate to, and for this reason, I was in two minds about posting it. After savouring the beguiling layers of light creamy cheese, sweet spice, succulent fruit and buttery, crunchy crumble, I knew I couldn't keep this to myself. I haven't written the recipe in my usual format but more as convenient notes on exactly how I did this, step by step, from start to finish.

My boys, including hubby, were well appeased by my efforts, and all rumblings have been banished. I still want my pear and ginger cheesecake though, so watch this space ;)

Nectarine and Candied Ginger Cheesecake Crumble

Prep 30 mins     Cook 45 mins     Serves 6


50 g (1/2 cup) plain or all purpose flour
30 g (2 generous Tbsp) firm butter, dice
1 1/2 level Tbsp coarse granulated sugar
A pinch fine salt
1/2 level tsp dried ground ginger

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and rub butter in until you have a bowlful of buttery crumbs. Chill until needed.


2 yolks
200 ml (1 cup) yoghurt (I used full fat)
250 g (1 2/3 cup) full fat unripened soft cream cheese
70 g (scant 1/2 cup) sugar
30 g (2 level Tbsp) finely chopped candied (crystalised) ginger

Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir gently until sugar has dissolved and ginger is evenly distributed. Chill until needed


3 large ripe nectarines, cut into large dice with skin on
1 level tsp cinnamon
2 level Tbsp soft brown sugar

Combine everything together and toss until thorougly mixed. Chill until needed.

Egg Whites

Whisk egg whites until firm peaks form and whites remain in bowl when bowl is upturned. Fold egg whites into cheesecake mixture. Do not overmix.

Assemble and Bake

Preheat oven to 160 C (310 F). Get 6 ovenproof glasses or ramekins of 200 ml (7 oz) capacity - I used the smaller Duralex Picardie tumblers.

Fill each glass with 1 1/2 generous tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture. Top with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the diced nectarines. Top with another 1 1/2 tablespoons of cheesecake mixture. Finish with 1 1/2 tablespoons of nectarines. Top the nectarine dice in each glass with an equal amount of the prepared crumble.

Stand the glasses in an ovenproof baking dish and fill the dish with water to come half way up the sides of the glasses. Bake for 45 minutes then turn off oven and leave door ajar for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecakes from oven and cool completely. Serve at room temperature.