14th January 2013
A word of warning – if you don’t like washing up or don’t own a dishwasher, don’t attempt this recipe …
At the beginning of the year I posted on my Facebook page a list of recipes I still had left to do and asked everyone what they would like me to bake next. The first suggestion I have already done – the chocolate souffle, so it was on with the next suggestion which was a cheesecake. I must admit I do prefer the unbaked cheesecakes to the baked ones, so after a quick flick through I came across this recipe and it looked rather interesting. I had to go out and buy a few bits and pieces for the recipe, as I didn’t have everything in the house.
The first thing was to make the base of the cheesecake. The tin required was a 23cm (9″) loose bottomed cake tin. I didn’t have a really deep one, but had a sandwich tin, which was quite deep, so I hoped that would do. Into a plastic bag I put 100g of digestive biscuits (hidden away from the family – as I knew they would eat them if they found them). These were crushed with a rolling-pin until they resembled breadcrumbs. Whilst I was bashing the biscuits, I had put into a small saucepan 50g butter and allowed it to melt. The crushed biscuits were added to the melted butter, together with 25g of demerara sugar. A quick stir with a wooden spoon and then they were tipped into the cake tin and pressed over the bottom. This was then placed in the fridge to cool.
Whilst the base was setting, I sprinkled 15g of powdered gelatine onto 4tbsp of water that I had already put into a small bowl. This was left to ‘sponge’ for five or so minutes.
It was now time to prepare the cheesecake topping. The first thing to do was to place 175g of ready to eat dried apricots into a pan together with 200ml of orange juice and bring them to the boil. This had to be simmered gently for 5 minutes until the apricots were tender. Some of my apricots seemed to be very tender almost immediately, others seemed the complete reverse and were very tough. I think I probably ended up simmering them for around 10 minutes before I was happy that the tough ones had tenderised enough.
Whist this was going on I retrieved my food processor from the cupboard. One day I’ll have a big enough kitchen to keep all my equipment on the worktop, but for the time being, things have to be hidden away. Into the food processor went the apricots and orange juice, 3 tbsp of honey, 225g full-fat cream cheese, 150ml of soured cream and 2 large egg yolks (the whites had been kept back for later). This was blitzed together until the mixture was nice and smooth. Mary does say that if you haven’t a food processor you can push the apricots through a sieve and then mix with the rest of the ingredients. I didn’t fancy doing that at all, I think it would have taken quite some time.
By now the gelatine had ‘sponged’ so it was placed over a pan of simmering water until it had dissolved. It was then mixed into the apricot mixture. The 2 egg whites which I had saved earlier were whisked until frothy and 100g of caster sugar was added to this a little at a time, making sure I whisked well inbetween additions. Once all the sugar had been added the apricot mixture was turned into the meringue mixture and folded in together.
By now the base of the cheesecake had set so it was removed from the fridge and the apricot mixture poured over the top. This was put back into the fridge to set.
There’s still more…
Once the base had set it was removed from the tin by loosening the edges using a palette knife and slipped onto a plate. I don’t know if anybody else has this problem, but I can never remove my cheesecake from the base of the tin, so the base of the tin has to be put onto the plate with the cheesecake on top. If anybody can tell me an easy way to remove my cheesecakes from the base of tin, I would appreciated it!
A mere tablespoon of apricot jam was warmed up and pushed through a sieve before being brushed over the top of the cheesecake. I was a bit unsure about doing this as I thought it would ruin the top, but it didn’t, there was just enough jam to cover it. The cake then had to be marked into 10 wedges, so very gently the top was marked – I’m not sure that each wedge was the same size, however!
150ml of double cream was whipped up and Mary said to dollop a spoonful of cream onto each wedge. I decided to pipe a rosette onto each wedge instead (more washing up – silly me!). To finish the cheesecake off a ratafia biscuit was popped onto each cream rosette.
I must admit the finished cheesecake was quite stunning and it tasted gorgeous. It was quite a time-consuming cheesecake to make, but I think it is one I would make again for a special occasion.