White Chocolate and Lemon Cheesecake

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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.

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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.

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Ingredients

Base

1 packet (minus 1 biscuit) butternut biscuits (or gingernut if you prefer), roughly a 250g packet

60 grams unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake filling

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.

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Method

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.

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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.

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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.

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Set aside in the fridge to set while you get on with the cheesecake filling.

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In a food processor or a bowl, place the room temperature cream cheese and vanilla.

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Next, zest the lemon, ensuring to just get the rind and avoiding being overzealous with grating and not getting any of the white pith.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Melted white chocolate, meet whipped cream, whipped cream, meet whipped cream cheese. Combine this holy trinity slowly, gradually and in batches.

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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.

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Once they’ve all met and mingled, pour into the prepared crust.

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Place in the fridge and leave it for at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.

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Bring it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you want to devour it and serve with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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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.

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I’ve included a bonus crust-porn shot for those of you playing at home.

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Do you love or hate cheesecake? If you hate, who hurt you?

Happy baking!

Yak x

 

 

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