Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Small but perfectly formed - Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake

...though yours doesn't have to be small to be perfectly formed. Indeed you could follow the recipe below and get something far more substantial but, you see, I am not really a cheesecake fan. In my mind, there are better and lighter puds and something in me thinks that if a pudding is going to be substantial then it has to be warm. However, what I will say is that as cheesecakes go, I liked this and I think it was because of its baked, mousse like texture and because I made it small and could take a small piece and not think about how I was going to have to eat the rest. I should say here that Phill is a cheesecake aficionado and would have willingly hoovered up the rest. In fact, the small cheesecake I made here he thought was a single portion but I think that was just an amazed response to the fact that I had actually made a cheesecake.
The quantities below are from the original recipe in Hummingbird Bakery's 'Bake Days', because it is unlikely that you would want to make something so small. I halved all the quantities below and used a 4 and a half springform tin. It served Lola, Finn, dad and me in one sitting, although Phill said he could have eaten all of it again. Maybe next time I will make one just for him.
Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake, taken from The Hummingbird Bakery 'Bake Days' by Tarek Malouf.
Serves 8
220g (8oz) digestive biscuits
100g (3 1/2oz) unsalted butter, melted
200g (7oz) fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped, plus 100-200g (3 1/2-7oz) extra strawberries, cut in half to decorate
180g (6 1/2oz) caster sugar
600g (1lb 5oz) full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)
2 large eggs
100g (3 1/2oz) mascarpone cheese
20g (3/4oz) icing sugar
100ml (3 1/2fl oz) double cream
Line the base of the tin with baking parchment. Using a food processor with the blade attachment, blitz the biscuits into fine crumbs. Alternatively place them in a plastic bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin.

 Pour the biscuit crumbs into a bowl, add the melted butter and stir together, then tip into the lined tin and press into the base with the back of a spoon.
Place the tin in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to allow the base to set.

Meanwhile, place the strawberries in a saucepan with 80g (3oz) of the sugar and 30ml (1fl oz) of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the strawberries are soft and the liquid has reduced by half. Take off the hob and set aside until completely cold.

Preheat the oven to 160c (320f), gas mark 3. Prepare the topping by using a hand-held electric whisk or a free standing electric mixer with the paddle attachment to beat together the cream cheese and remaining sugar on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl now and then. Tip the cooked strawberries and stir in by hand, ensuring that they are evenly dispersed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin - it should be about two-thirds full. Place in a roasting tin (first wrap the cake tin in foil) and fill this with water up to about 5mm (1/4in) from the top of the cake tin. This creates a water bath in which to bake the cheesecake, preventing it from drying out and cracking in the oven.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until firm on the top with a very slight wobble in the centre. Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature still in the tin, then place in the fridge to chill and set for 1-2 hours.

Using the electric whisk or free standing mixer, beat the mascarpone and icing sugar on a medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the double cream until soft peaks form, then fold it into the mascarpone.

Remove the chilled cheesecake from the fridge and pour the mascarpone cream on top, spreading it evenly. Place back in the fridge for a few hours, or preferably overnight, to set.

When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and top with fresh strawberry halves.

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