Cheesecake and I go way back. My mum and gran made cheesecake often when I was little. They let me get involved all the time and I was an expert biscuit crusher. I was first taught the fridge version and made my way up to baked when I was old enough not to burn myself or the house down. I love both types. But there is something incredibly luxurious about the texture of a baked cheesecake. Like silky velvet on your fork with a buttery biscuit crunch.
It’s rich and devilishly moreish. It’s also a super easy dinner party dessert as you have to make it the day before freeing you up to focus more on your other courses or on wine drinking. It’s important to let it set in the fridge overnight as that’s what gives it the velvety texture. You can serve your cheesecake with all kinds of sauces, crunchy toppings or fruit. It lends itself to so many flavour combinations. It also keeps well in the fridge covered up for a few days. Cheesecake for breakfast is the way forward. Figs are in season and one of my favourite fruit and pair so well with the salted caramel. Be sure to use sea salt flakes for those surprise little pops of flavour.
- 1 packet (200g) ginger nuts
- 80g butter, melted
- 1kg best quality cream cheese
- 200g caster sugar
- 250ml cream
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbsp Maïzena
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 60ml water
- 200g caster sugar
- 28g butter
- 125ml cream
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
serve with seasonal fruit
Prepare a 23cm springform pan by greasing it with butter and then lining the outside with two layers of heavy duty foil.
For the salted caramel- Bring the sugar and water to a boil and watch closely until it turns a rich caramel colour. Do not stir it up until this point, just swish the pan around if necessary. Add the butter off the heat and whisk. Be careful- it will bubble up. Finally whisk in the cream and vanilla and sprinkle in sea salt flakes. Set aside to cool in a heatproof dish.
For the base- crush the biscuits and pour in melted butter. Press into the base of a greased 23cm springform cake tin. Place in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 165˚C.
For the filling- in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and then cream. Add one egg at a time and beat in thoroughly. Finally add the Maïzena, lemon juice, lemon zest and the vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
Place the springform tin into a large, deep, oven dish. Pour mixture on top of the base, fill the tray half way up with water and bake the cheesecake in the bain marie for 1 hour and 15-30 min depending on your oven. The centre should still have a slight wobble.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the bain marie. (This helps prevents cracking by cooling it slowly) Once the water is cold remove the cheesecake and the layers of foil and let it set in the fridge overnight.
Bring the cheesecake up to room temperature before serving. Slice using a sharp knife dipped in boiling water. Drizzle with salted caramel and serve with fresh figs or berries.