I'm rather stunned - and slightly ashamed - to realise that what follows is the first "proper" recipe I've posted. There have been the odd cooking suggestions - the joys of "chicken toast" spring to mind - but I've not yet done the recipe thing. So, without further ado...
Inevitably, the first post involves calories: lots of 'em, in fact. But hell, it's a proper pudding and, frankly, I'd rather have a small slice of this
than a much larger slice of something low fat. Or indeed, a large slice of this
and go for a much longer run the following day.
Baked Cheesecake is one of the greatest pleasures to eat and, back in my early, tentative cooking days, was probably the first thing I mastered. It's easy to make (particularly if you have a blender or a Kenwood Chef), easy to adapt (blueberries go well, raisins are also a winner) and the results tend to disappear very quickly. I made one for an event for Mrs L's family last year and it lasted about a minute (beating out many more elaborate confections) and generated seven requests for the recipe. Endorsed by Jews: is there a more telling accolade for this brilliant pud?
(Serves 12 -16. Or one, if you lock yourself away with a spoon)
For the base:
125g of Digestives, crushed
50-75g of butter
a generous 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
For the cheesecake:
600g of full fat cream cheese (if you need to assuage some guilt, do 200g of light - more than that and it just doesn't cook properly)
284mls of double cream
4 tablespoons of golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (well, 1-and-a-bit - I like the lemony flavour)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence. Or a pod's worth of seeds.
Pinch of salt.
With the oven at the magic temperature of 180 degrees C (what's that, Gas Mark 4? 350F?), get busy with the biccies and a rolling pin. While I quite like the mix of very fine crumbs and the odd larger lump - a bit of texture never hurts - Mrs L prefers the smoother version. She's similarly fussy about mash but, er, that's not important right now. To be fair, the finer the crumb, the better the absorption of the butter - which is the next bit. Probably obviously. Melt the butter, sprinkle in the crumbs and the nutmeg (or nutmeg and cinnamon mix if you're feeling racy), stir furiously until everything's well coated and press the resulting mixture into a loose-bottom, 20 cm / 8 inch tin. Let it set for a few minutes.
Now the fun bit. Get the blender / Kenwood Chef. Mix the cheese, eggs, cream, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and pinch of salt together until you have a thick, even and creamy liquid. Mix it some more. Enjoy the smell of lemon and vanilla as it wafts from the bowl.
Pour the mix over the base and whack it in the oven for around 40-50 minutes. Watch it rise like a souffle and go a delightful golden brown. Remove from oven and test centre with a skewer. If it comes out clean, it's done and, to be honest, if it comes out relatively clean, it's still probably done because, by the time the cheesecake sinks (and it will), you'll be left with a soft and creamy centre. If it's not done - i.e., it's wobbling like a jelly and you've got a skewer covered in cheesy liquid - put it back in the oven for a few minutes but hey, if you've made it this far you can read so you've probably worked that bit out yourself.
Now the hard bit. Leave it for about a day. That gives the centre a bit more time to set / condense but, most importantly, it allows the flavours to even out.
Enjoy. It should last a good three or four days in the fridge but I doubt it'll get the chance...