Kate Humble shares this much-loved and, oh, so simple cheesecake recipe that has been passed between friends and family. Perfect for a sunny Summer afternoon in the garden.
IMAGE: ANDREW MONTGOMERY
The contrariness here is all mine. I generally avoid cheesecake – but a deconstructed cheesecake is somehow okay. In fact, not just okay, but very delicious indeed. This recipe is a sort of mash-up of a cheesecake my mum makes and one that my friend Penny makes, but done my contrary way. It requires a little light beating to make the creamy bit and a bit of bashing to make the crunchy bit, and is very amenable to any adaptations and additions you might want to make.
For the creamy bit
- 250 g mascarpone
- 150 g cream cheese (I use a light one because I prefer the texture, but full-fat is fine too)
- 25 g caster sugar
- zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 ml double cream
For the crunchy bit
- 100 g ginger nut biscuits (about 10)
- 30 g butter
- 350 g mixed summer berries
- zest of 1 unwaxed lime plus a squeeze of juice
- mint leaves I like to chop them into ribbons
- icing sugar
- With an electric hand whisk, beat together the mascarpone, cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla extract and cream until smooth and well combined. Chill in the fridge. You can chop and change your citrus flavours at will – use an orange, a lime or two, or a clementine – and play around with the biscuit base accordingly.
- Put the biscuits in a bowl, break them up a bit with your hands and then bash them a bit with a rolling pin until you have a nicely uneven crumb. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the biscuit crumbs and stir so they are well coated. Pour the mixture into a nonstick tin (you are going to break this base up, remember, so it can be any size tin), pat the crumb down with a wooden spoon then put the tin in the fridge.
- You can add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (or more) to the mix to make a chocolate ginger crumb. Or use digestive biscuits instead. I’ve added a handful of chopped hazelnuts on occasion too. Add a teaspoon of spice – cinnamon or mixed spice for a wintery version.
- How you present this pud is really up to you. In glasses, a bowl or a plate. Biscuit crunch beneath the cream and the fruit, or on top. Anything goes. I like the berries mixed gently with the lime juice and zest, some of the mint leaves and just a sprinkling of icing sugar. I’d serve them alongside a generous blob of the lemony topping, scatter the ginger crunch with abandon and decorate with a couple more mint leaves.
Recipe from Home Cooked: Recipes from the Farm by Kate Humble. Photography by Andrew Montgomery, published by Gaia (£25)
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