15 March, 2007

Lemon cheesecake

Wow, my first attempt at a blog competition: Hay, Hay, it’s cheesecake all the way, courtesy of Peabody. Also my first attempt at food photography; ah well, I can only improve!

Lemon cheesecake

I often find cheesecake too sickly, but this one is light and delicious, and went down a storm for tea after choir rehearsal. As a bonus, it’s very easy to make, and an excellent way of using up home-made lemon curd. Ideally, make it the day before and chill overnight.


Base:
120g lemon-flavoured shortbread biscuits (or other buttery biscuits)
40 g butter

Filling:
350 g curd cheese, ricotta, or other light cheese
350 g Philadelphia, St Moret or similar (“spreadable” cheese)
100 g sugar
3 eggs
finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of half of it
150 g lemon curd

Preheat the oven to 180C. Have ready a large spring-form cake tin.

Put the biscuits in a plastic bag and pound or roll with a rolling pin. Don’t reduce them to powder — leave some biggish lumps, otherwise the base will be too stodgy. Melt the butter, mix with the biscuits, then spread the mixture over the base of the tin, patting it down firmly, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 140C.

Meanwhile, put all the cheese in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 30 seconds to make it smooth and light. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs, one by one, followed by the lemon zest and juice. Stir in half the lemon curd — no need to mix it in completely.

Pour into the tin and bake for about an hour. The filling should be only just set and still a little bit wobbly in the middle. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in it to cool.

When it’s completely cold, unmould it and put it on a plate. Spread the rest of the lemon curd over it and decorate with a few slivers of lemon zest or some candied lemon peel.

Useful tip: despite all my precautions, the first time I made this the top collapsed into huge crevasses as it cooled. I had some mascarpone in the fridge, so I whisked it to loosen it up and spread a very thin layer over the top of the cake before covering with lemon curd. This worked perfectly as camouflage, even after an hour’s journey in the car.

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