Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Recipe: Baked Cheesecake with Spiced Plums & Blackberries

Is it just me or do cheesecakes seem to have fallen out of fashion? At one time they seemed to be a permanent fixture on many dessert menus but they are not seen as regularly these days. When they are offered, they tend to be ‘deconstructed’ which always leaves me a little underwhelmed and although this seems to be the fashion these days, I have to admit that I have always preferred a no-nonsense-style wedge of cheesecake.

There are two main types of cheesecake; those that are uncooked and set with gelatine and those that are baked. I like both but will admit that I find it impossible to resist the baked variety which for me is best typified by a classic New York Baked Cheesecake with its topping of a thin layer of sour cream.

This recipe is for a baked cheesecake with a biscuit base and is fairly simple to make.  It is important not to over-beat the filling as this creates air bubbles which can cause the cheesecake to crack when it cools. Whilst this will not affect the flavour, it will affect the look of the finished cheesecake.

I like to serve the cheesecake with stewed or roasted stone fruits and at this time of the year nothing beats plums which are plentiful and inexpensive, so I have also included my recipe for Spiced Plums & Blackberries.

Baked Cheesecake
 
INGREDIENTS:
150g ginger biscuit crumbs
65g butter melted
360g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
175g caster sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
30g plain flour, sifted
200ml sour cream
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to Fan Oven to 160C/Fan Oven 140C/Gas Mark 2. Grease and base line a 22-24cm round loose-bottomed cake tin.
  2. Place the biscuit crumbs in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter onto the crumbs and mix well. Press the mixture into the base of the prepared cake tin and chill in the fridge while you make the cheesecake filling.
  3. Place the cream cheese and caster sugar in a clean mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer and beat together until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on a low speed until they are just incorporated.
  4. Stir in the sifted flour, sour cream, lemon zest and juice and then pour the mixture into the cake tin on top of the chilled biscuit base.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes and then switch off the oven but do not remove the cheesecake. Allow to cool in the oven and then remove and chill until ready to serve.

Serves 10-12

Spiced Plums & Blackberries
 
INGREDIENTS:
10 plums, halves and stoned
50g Demerara sugar
1 orange peeled zest and juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 vanilla pod split
125g blackberries, each halved lengthways

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to Fan Oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Place the plums in a baking dish cut side upwards and sprinkle over the sugar. Break the cinnamon stick in half and add to the plums along with the vanilla pod, star anise and orange peel. Pour over the orange juice.
  3. Place in the preheated oven  for 15-20 minutes until the plums have softened and the cooking juices have reduced. Remove from the oven and mix in the halved blackberries and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Serves 6-8.