I am a huge fan of desserts. I judge restaurants by their dessert menus. I get upset if someone in the party with me orders the same dish as me, because I want to steal a spoonful from them. I also get very upset when servers bring two spoons out. No sir. I am devouring this all on my own. Like Joey, I do not share food.
So when tasked with making dessert for a dinner party last weekend, I jumped at the opportunity to master (or rather attempt) a baked cheesecake. I had made one before, years ago, and it was extremely good. I mean, full of flavour, baked to perfection, light cake and a *ahem* buttery biscuit base. Surely this recipe wouldn’t fail me? Oh, how wrong I was…
Having perfected the recipe, I failed to master the method. Below is a recipe that can be tweaked (anyone want to make a grapefruit cheese cake and report back to me?), but I would recommend heeding this one piece of advice- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN TO CHECK THE CHEESECAKE! The dramatic drop in air temperature will cause the surface to crack open like Pacific Rim and you will have no choice but to cover the top with all the whipped cream you can find, and pray that your guests are kind critics.
RECIPE- makes one cheesecake
FOR THE BISCUIT BASE:
14 DIGESTIVE OR HOBNOB BISCUITS
3 oz BUTTER
FOR THE FILLING:
1 1/2 lb CREAM CHEESE (use full fat, none of this low fat nonsense)
1/4 PINT HEAVY CREAM
3 EGG YOLKS
ZEST OF 4 LEMONS (or 5 limes, but do not use any juice)
FOR THE COULIS:
2 PASSION FRUITS
Preheat the oven to 300F, line a 9-10 inch loose base cake tin.
Smash up biscuits in a Ziploc bag until all crumbs, or blend in a processor. Slowly melt the butter and add crumbs.
Pour in the biscuit/butter mix into the cake tin, and smooth down with the back of a buttered spoon or spatula. Bake for 15 minutes until brown, remove from oven and allow to cool.
Whisk the cream cheese, cream, sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl. Grate in the zest of the lemons. Using an electric whisk, beat together on a low speed, until smooth.
Pour the filling onto the cooled base, return to the oven and bake for an hour, or until set. (I don’t use a bain Marie, but you’re welcome to.)
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool thoroughly before moving to the fridge to chill for at least an hour before serving.
To make the coulis, scoop out the contents of the passion fruits into a small pan and heat with the sugar. Allow the mix to bubble for 3-5 minutes before cooling.
Carefully remove the cheesecake from tin, and move to a serving plate, using a palette knife to loosen the cake from the base of the tin.
To serve, slice up a good sized piece of cake and pour out the coulis to taste. Whipped cream optional.