The summer is drawing to an end (actually, what summer?) and so is my time in work as my contract is up in just over a week. During one of our many lunchtime discussions about food, one of my colleagues was asking if I had ever made cheesecake as it was his favourite. I felt really guilty because I've made it loads of times & brought it into the office - he just wasn't working there then. So, Robbie, this one's for you!
The last of the strawberries are in store right now and I'm using gorgeous Irish Camarillo strawberries from Keelings in North Co. Dublin - they're bright red, very juicy and have a gorgeous ultra-intense perfume. Oh, they taste pretty good as well! After taster feedback from the Baby Berry Cheesecakes, I'm making this base using 50/50 digestives and ginger nuts which I'm baking for 10 minutes for extra crunchiness. It's still the same 2:1 biscuit butter ratio though and this makes your base perfectly crunchy and set. I'm using white chocolate because it's what Robbie prefers - personally I'm a fan of "the darker the better" so feel free to change the chocolate to suit your own personal taste. The chocolate acts as a setting agent, so you won't need gelatine. It's also very sweet, so there's no need to add extra sugar.
These quantities make a very large 12 inch cheesecake so simply halve for a small group - I'm feeding a gang of 20 in work, so I always make more than the average person would eat in a week! If you don't have a loose-bottomed cake tin, invest in one - they make baking things like this an absolute breeze, and mine gets used for all my cake baking, so they're very versatile too.
If you're a cheesecake novice, fear not because there's a list of handy tips in a previous post...
Strawberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake
125g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
125g Ginger Biscuits, crushed
125g Butter, melted
300g Full Fat Cream Cheese
200g Strawberries, crushed
200g White Chocolate, melted and cooled
Preheat your oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4
Using brute force, or a food processor, bash the digestive biscuits until they disintegrate into a sandy mass.
Melt the butter in a pot & add the crushed biscuits. Stir well until the butter has been absorbed by the crumbs. Pour into your loose-bottomed cake tin & bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven & allow to cool completely before adding the filling.
I was watching The Goddess That Is Ina make a Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake this morning & she definitely doesn't do her own clearing up - she melted the butter then added it to the food processor. Two greasy items to wash up... not in this house!
Now melt your chocolate - either in a bain marie or a microwave. I'm personally very comfortable using a microwave - break it up into squares, stick it in a glass bowl or jug & melt 1 minute at a time at 50% power. Stir every time & it should take about 3 minutes. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes while you crack on with the filling.
Whip the cream until it's between soft peak & very stiff as it needs to hold its shape.
Whisk the cream cheese (this breaks up any lumps) and fold in the cream.
Puree the strawberries and fold into the cream and cheese.
Finally, fold in the cooled melted white chocolate, mixing very well.
Pour the cheesecake on top of the biscuit base, level out* and chill for at least 4 hours.
*Yes, that is a scrupulously clean ice scraper you can see in the photo - it's small enough to get into the edges of the tin, unlike a palette knife. Also, wrap a piece of kitchen paper around your finger & wipe the inside edge of the tin so you get a really clean finish. It takes 2 seconds and makes the cheesecake look really professional