Like the surety of death, taxes and my inability to do maths, people love a cheesecake at the end of a dinner party. I hear people say “Oh no cheesecake is too heavy for me” or “cheesecake isn’t my cup of tea” but placed in front of them after an evening of tipples and I can assure you it’s pure silence from them.
For myself, I sing cheesecakes praises from the rooftops, no matter the setting and especially this one. Elegant, refined and not overly intense (despite the ingredients) it’s the perfect ending to a meal. Surprisingly, it’s quite a light cheesecake and with the absence of extra sugar and the added zing of lemon. If white chocolate isn’t your thing (excuse me?), don’t be deterred from this recipe, I can assure you that you get a creamy finish in this, rather than a sickly sweet one. Most importantly and to boot, it’s a fridge set dessert, no fussing about cracks or over-baking like in a traditional cheesecake and can be whipped up in no time. Fab.
1 packet (minus 1 biscuit) butternut biscuits (or gingernut if you prefer), roughly a 250g packet
60 grams unsalted butter, melted
225g white chocolate melts (or a bar chopped) don’t be tempted to use non-cooking chocolate, it won’t set the same
250g cream cheese at room temperature, full fat-no questions
300 ml thickened cream (whipped)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, I usually use vanilla bean paste but had none, all works but never essence please, thank you for listening to the PSA.
Line a 9 inch spring form pan and set aside. Grab your biscuits and crush (either in a food processor or by hand with a rolling pin/bottle of wine) until they’re a fine sandy, rubble.
Next, melt the butter and add to the crumbs. If the mixture appears a little dry, you can always melt a further 10grams of butter to dampen the mixture, but don’t be too tempted to add a large amount as you want the base to be delicate and crumbly. Combine and tip into the prepared tin.
Flatten the mixture into the base of the tin, either using your fingers or like I do, with the base of a glass. This really helps to get into the edges of the tin and ensure it’s evenly layered as well as ensuring buttery fingers are avoided.
Set aside in the fridge to set while you get on with the cheesecake filling.
In a food processor or a bowl, place the room temperature cream cheese and vanilla.
Next, zest the lemon, ensuring to just get the rind and avoiding being overzealous with grating and not getting any of the white pith.
Whip this mixture up until there are no lumps. This is why it is important to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature or you will never get a silky finish.
Set aside and melt the white chocolate. I do so by blitzing in the microwave in 1 minute intervals to save the mucking around with a double boiler, but do whatever you’re comfortable with.
Make sure once the white chocolate has melted that you set it aside for a while so it isn’t piping hot when we add it to the other ingredients later on.
Next, whip the cream until medium firm, being careful not to over-whip.
Bonus tip pertaining to cream alert!
If you’ve pushed the cream just a little too far, always keep a teaspoon or so worth of cream leftover in the pot. Gently fold this into the just-overwhipped cream and slowly loosen the mixture. This only works if you haven’t made bloody butter but for cream near the brink, it works a treat.
Resuming normal service
Melted white chocolate, meet whipped cream, whipped cream, meet whipped cream cheese. Combine this holy trinity slowly, gradually and in batches.
I usually add the white chocolate to the cream cheese mixture first and then slowly combine the whipped cream to loosen the mixture and try to make sure I don’t knock all the lovely lightness of it out.
Once they’ve all met and mingled, pour into the prepared crust.
Place in the fridge and leave it for at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.
Bring it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you want to devour it and serve with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.
This is perfect unadulterated but if you wanted to dress her up in a party frock, feel free to add some white chocolate shavings or even some fresh raspberries.
I’ve included a bonus crust-porn shot for those of you playing at home.
Do you love or hate cheesecake? If you hate, who hurt you?