I blame my housemate. I had two packets of cream cheese in the fridge and the vague but honest intention of making some chocolately sweet treat when she spied the offering and said, ‘ooooh, are you making a cheesecake?’
And so of course, I said yes.
In truth, we had some friends visiting for dinner and cheesecakes are best made to be enjoyed by several people rather than two greedy women on a Sunday night in front of Downton Abbey, so it was the best and most sociable option. This is an unbaked cheesecake, the classic recipe enjoyed by generations and not dissimilar to the one you have probably enjoyed since childhood. It proves that with great recipes, nothing has to be added or blinged up to make it truly memorable.
Still, it’s not chocolate. I guess I shall have to revisit my original intention of making some chocolate nutella whoopie pies some other day.
Makes a 25cm cheesecake, enough for 12 generous serves
Biscuit base: 250g plain biscuits such as granita; 90g butter
Cheesecake: 2 x 250g packets cream cheese; ¼ cup caster sugar; 3 eggs; finely grated zest of one lemon; 1 cup thickened cream; 2 tsp powdered gelatine; blueberries, strawberries or raspberries to serve.
Biscuit base: Lay a sheet of baking paper over the base of a 25cm round springform cake tin so that the edges of the paper overhang the round base. Snap the tin back together, so the paper peeps out the bottom but is smooth across the base of the tin. (This will help you easily transfer the cheesecake onto a serving plate later).
Place the biscuits in a blender or food processor and blitz until it is the consistency of sand. Pout the biscuit crumbs into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a microwave or in a small saucepan and add to the biscuit crumbs and mix it together with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Spoon the biscuit crumbs into the base of the tin and use the back of the wooden spoon to firm down the base and create a smooth surface. Place the tin in the fridge to chill while you make the cheesecake.
Place the cream cheese and caster sugar in a bowl and beat with electric beaters until it is smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, then the lemon zest.
Place the cream in another bowl and whisk it until it thickens and soft peaks form. Set aside.
Boil the kettle and measure ¼ cup of boiling water into a small jug. Add the gelatine and stir it well until it dissolves. Add the gelatine liquid to the cheese mixture with the whipped cream and stir it well to combine.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Chill for at least four hours before serving.
To serve, unmold the sides of the tin and place the cheesecake, base and all onto a serving plate. Gently ease the cheesecake onto the plate by tugging gently on the baking paper to slide it off, then lift the side of the cheesecake with a cake server and gently pull the paper away from under the biscuit base. It is actually more easy to do this than it sounds.
Scatter with berries before serving.
$12.85 for 12 generous serves.