(serves 4 to 6 people)
- 500g full fat cream cheese
- 150g clotted cream
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of a good vanilla extract
- 100g caster sugar (add more if you have a sweet tooth, or less if you don’t)
- 6 table spoons of honey or golden syrup
- 75g butter
- 400g digestive biscuits or ginger nut biscuits
Equipment for the basic Vanilla Cheesecake
- Food Processor or Rolling Pin
- Large Bowl x2
- Small Pan
- Crush the biscuits up in a large bowl using a rolling pin, or blitz in a food processor until it becomes a rough crumb.
- Place the butter and syrup in a small pan over a low heat until the butter has melted.
- Pour the resulting liquid over the crushed biscuits and mix well.
- This will give you a basic biscuit base.
*You can also use this as a quick and easy crumble topping. Just place on top of some slightly sweetened stewed fruits like apples or plums and serve with a side of vanilla ice cream or custard
- Mix the cream cheese, clotted cream and caster sugar in a large bowl.
- Split the vanilla pod down the middle (length ways) and use a teaspoon to scrape the seeds out.
- Add the seeds (or extract) to the mix and stir well.
- Place in the fridge to firm up for approximately 30 minutes.
Topping and presentations
Blue berry, pecan and maple syrup (ideal for a family event)
Additional Ingredients: Blue berries, pecans, 50ml maple syrup
Additional Equipment: Cake tin with a removable base, spatula, small dry frying pan
- Place the biscuit base into a cake tin that has a removable base and press down to compact the base together.
- Add a few handfuls of blue berries to the cheesecake mix and mix well.
- Smooth the cheesecake mix onto of the biscuit base in the tin
- Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Heat your spatula using hot water from a kettle.
- Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and run the spatula around the sides of the cheesecake and pop the cheesecake out onto a serving plate.
- Place a small frying pan over a low heat and add a handful of pecans
- Lightly toast in the dry pan for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 50ml of maple syrup and toss together.
- Pour over the cheesecake and serve.
Strawberries and cream (Ideal for a dinner party)
Additional Ingredients: 1 jar of smooth strawberry jam, punnet of fresh strawberries, garnishing (mint, fresh fruit or micro fennel)
Additional Equipment: Piping bag or freezer bag X2, 6 wine glasses
- Place the cream cheese mix into a piping bag, or if you don’t have a piping bag, use a freezer bag with the corner cut off to pipe.
- Repeat this process with a smooth strawberry jam.
- Roughly chop a punnet of fresh strawberries.
- Get 6 wine glasses (whiskey glasses, water tumblers even a builder’s mug will work!)
- Create a bottom layer strawberries in the glasses, then pipe a little of the cheesecake mix on top, with some of the strawberry jam on top of that.
- Repeat this process 2 more times.
- Top with some of the biscuit base and garnish with mint or fresh fruit (for those who saw the cooking demo at Stonyhurst Great British Food Festival I garnished them with micro fennel.)
Chocolate and ginger poached pear (ideal for impressing the other half)
Additional Ingredients: 2 pears, fresh ginger, 150g caster sugar, 700ml double cream, 50ml golden syrup, 150g chopped dark chocolate, garnishing (mint or micro fennel)
Additional Equipment: Pan x2, Whisk, Large Bowl, Pastry Brush (if you have one!), dessert spoon
- Peel 2 pears and place them into a pan with some roughly chopped fresh ginger and 150g of caster sugar.
- Top up the pan with water making sure the pears are completely covered and place over a low heat to simmer for 30 minutes (or until the pear is tender.)
- Allow the pear to cool in the ginger stock.
- Place 100ml of double cream and 50ml of golden syrup (or maple syrup) in a pan over a low heat and bring to a simmer.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 150g of chopped dark chocolate – stir well.
- Place to the side and allow to cool. Do not place in the fridge to cool, unless you want to make chocolate truffles!
*If you DO want to make truffles – place the mix in the fridge for 4 hours until firm, take a spoon full of the mix, shape into balls and roll in cocoa powder for a simple truffle. Heads up – the rolling part can get a bit messy if you have warm hands!)
- In a large bowl add 1 pint of double cream and whip until the cream reaches soft peaks (ie-holds its shape when you remove the whisk).
- Fold the cooled chocolate mix (leave a little bit in the pan to garnish the dish at the end) into the whipped cream and place in the fridge for about an hour to firm, this will give you easy chocolate mousse.
- To plate I like a long rectangle plate, but really any plate will do. I paint a long stripe across the plate with a little bit of the chocolate left overs using a pastry brush.
- Place some of the biscuit base along the chocolate line, then take a hot dessert spoon (heated using hot water from a kettle) and run across the top of cheesecake mix, this will give you a nice quenelle of cheesecake to place on the biscuit base, repeat 2 more times (remember to wipe and heat the spoon before each quenelle), alternating between the cheesecake mix and the chocolate mousse.
- Now take the poached pear and cut into 3 wedges (removing a little bit of the core) and lean against the mousse and cheesecake where ever you think it looks good. Garnish with mint (or micro fennel or some of the accidental truffle balls you made!)
Please if you do decide to try the recipe out, take photos of your creations and let us know how you got on via our Facebook page! Happy Baking!