Summer fruit cheesecake
This is a real show-stopper of a cheesecake.
It’s baked using a bain-marie method and it is worth the extra effort.
- a packet of digestive biscuits
- unsalted butter
- chopped nuts (I like pecans best)
- a nice large lemon (zest and juice)
- 4 tablespoons of cornflour
- 200g of sugar
- 850g of full fat cream cheese (don’t even think about using low fat, it does not bake)
- 3 eggs
- 375ml cream (if you have any left over use this for decorating)
- a vanilla pod
- 2 punnets of summer fruits (raspberries and blueberries are my favourites)
This makes a massive cheesecake (enough for a least 12 people) so you can divide the amounts up as you wish or just bake two smaller ones and give one to a friend. You will be very popular!
Pre-heat the oven (fan) to around 160 degrees. All ovens vary, they really do but for this bit it is not that important to have a precise cooking temperature.
Line and grease a spring-form cake tin.
Melt some butter in a pan on a low heat and add the biscuits (yes, they need crushing first and it is fun to do this!). Add the chopped nuts and adjust the amount of butter according to taste. You do not want the biscuit base to be soggy so less is more…
Put the biscuit base into the prepared tin and push down to create an even surface.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to around 150 degrees and find a large, deep baking tray (one for roast potatoes is good). Fill up the tray with water about 2 cm deep and close the oven door. This is the bain-marie.
Find a large bowl and put in the lemon juice and zest, cornflour and sugar. Whisk until blended and the kitchen is filled with a fabulous lemony smell.
Next whisk in the cheese and then the eggs, one at a time. Add the cream and then the seeds from the vanilla pod. Get as much as you can, I sometimes use two.
Fold in the fruit carefully so it does not break up in the mix and then pour into the tin or tins. Try to ensure there is no fruit sticking up on the surface of the cheesecake as this may cause it to crack when cooling.
Wrap the tin in foil, to create a water-proof casing around it but not over the top.
Place carefully in the bain-marie and bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes. You may need more time, you may need less. This is the art of baking a cheesecake.
To tell the cheesecake is baked the sides should be firm to the touch and slightly golden, not brown. The centre of the cheesecake will still wobble.
A tip for finishing off the cooking is to turn the oven off and leave the cake in there for a further 5 - 10 minutes until it is cooked.
Remove carefully from the bain-marie, take off the foil and put the tin on a rack to cool. Immediately use a spatular to cut around the cake and separate it from the tin; this will prevent it cracking when cooling.
Leave to cool in the tin, then remove the spring-form sides and place it in the fridge to set completely. Overnight is best.
If you do end up with some cracks, grab an piping bag and pipe cream on the top and decorate with fruit.