I’m just back from a run and I have a Mayo and Kermode Film Review Show podcast chattering away in my ears. Currently, the smooth creamy sound of Robert Redford talking at the London Sundance Film and Music Festival is mesmerizing me. What a voice; let alone anything else. I love ‘Barefoot in the Park’ and ‘Out of Africa’, not keen on ‘The Way we Were’ and I think I really should watch ‘All the President’s Men’ very soon.
Talking of smooth and creamy – Cheesecake is something I associate with Americans. I not really sure why, but I suppose there are a multitude of voluptuous American cheesecake recipes and it is a bit of a US classic along with apple pie. I made one at the weekend as we had an old friend of the family visiting. He lives near Seattle.
However this one is visually perhaps a poor excuse for a cheesecake, a low-key affair, but really delicious none the less. I have a confession to make at this point. I don’t really like desserts/puddings very much. I don’t worry about leaving ‘room’ for one in a restaurant and I never check menus for the list of desserts when making a choice. I suspect it is something to do with not having a sweet tooth. A big help if you are a cake maker and a little taste of something is usually enough, perhaps a mouthful of someone else’s! I actually thought the ‘sweet tooth state’ was a learned behaviour, but Child 1 appears to have my gene. Interesting. Child 2 takes after his father and that side of the family where the sweet tooth gene reigns supreme.
The result of all this is that cakes aside (the day job) I haven’t shared any dessert recipes. Generally I serve up some variation of a cake if such a course is required, or Oranges steeped in Brandy Syrup. I can be moved to make fruity desserts but the crumbles, pies, cheesecakes, steam sponges, upside-down puddings, tarts, profiteroles and all the rest of it rarely feature in my kitchen. Balance is required. I do have a couple of cheesecake recipes up my sleeves, this one, the easiest, and something which appears to be the best dessert in the world. I struggle to see what all the fuss is about but others have arrived at this consensus. Today we will go with the easiest and work up the best ever.
So you will need, 200g of Ginger Nut biscuits, 50g Unsalted Butter, 2 x 250g pots of Mascarpone Cheese, 50g Icing Sugar, 2 Limes and a little bit of plain chocolate. That’s it.
Grease an 8″ cake tin either deep or a sandwich pan or a spring form tin, anything will do. You could use a 6″ one instead if you want smaller but deeper.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and while that is happening blitz the biscuits to a fine crumb in a food processor. You can use a plastic bag and a rolling-pin to bash the biscuits to a crumb instead. Add the biscuit crumbs to the butter and mix with a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly. Then empty into the cake tin and spread and press to evenly line the base of the tin. Pop in the fridge for half an hour to set.
Meanwhile make the topping. Into a large bowl empty the pots of Mascarpone, the icing sugar and the zest and the juice of the limes. Beat to combine with a wooden spoon. Once the base is set, remove the tin from the fridge and spread with the lime-y cheese topping and return to the fridge for a good couple of hours to chill. That’s it.
If you want to decorate it: grate on a little plain chocolate, or if you feel your culinary skills have not been flexed sufficiently you could make some chocolate leaves. Now I should add a word of caution. This method uses actual rose leaves as a template. I have no idea from a ‘health and safety’ point of view whether this is acceptable. However if you want to have a go: melt some chocolate in a microwave on low for 30 seconds or so and stir to achieve a smooth molten loveliness. Pick 7 or 8 rose leaves and make sure that they are washed and thoroughly dried. You need to ensure some stalk is still attached to each leaf and hold onto that as you drag the underside of the leaf through the chocolate. Leave to set on a plate for an hour or two. Peel off the actual leaf carefully and use to decorate.