There are two very different types of dessert rejoicing in the name of cheesecake: one is baked, and one is chilled to set. So what about you; are you a baked or set cheesecake fan, and what are your favourite flavours? Personally I prefer the set cheesecake, but I do think the perfect combination of rich topping and crunchy base is very hard to get right. So what is the secret to the perfect cheesecake?
Let’s start at the bottom. Most set cheesecake recipes have a base made from crushed digestive Biscuits. I’ve tried several alternatives with nutty flavours, chocolate and sesame seeds to Kaddafi and cornflakes, but I keep coming back to the good old faithful digestive. Cream cheese is the classic topping, mixed with double cream, but I like to also whip in some mascarpone.
For me it gives the topping a beautifully smooth and sulky touch, but I do recognise that it can make the topping a bit too dense and buttery for some. Honey and condensed milk are sometimes used in the Middle East, but it makes the topping a little too sweet for my taste. For a better balance and a lighter feel you might find mild, milky ricotta is a good option along with quark if you’re looking for a healthier choice.
I love classic flavour combinations for a cheesecake such lemon and we have a delicious mango & lime version on our Fosh Food at Home delivery service but, if you want to be a little more adventurous, try my avocado cheesecake with a crunchy hazelnut and pumpkin seed base.
Redcurrant, lime & star anise cheesecake
- 200g digestive biscuits
- 75g melted butter
- 1tbsp golden syrup
- 500g cream cheese
- 125g mascarpone
- 200g icing sugar
- Zest of 1 lime, finely grated
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 star anise
- 2 gelatine leaves
For the garnish
- 200g fresh redcurrants
- 200g redcurrant jam
Place the digestive biscuits in the food processor and mix with the melted butter and golden syrup. Press into the base of a 20cm round tart mould. Chill in the refrigerator to firm up. Whisk the cream cheese with the mascarpone and icing sugar, then fold through the lime zest.
Crush the star anise and place in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the lime juice, bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for 30 seconds and then melt in the lime juice. Pass through a fine sieve and beat into the cheese mix. Cover the biscuit base and place in the refrigerator until set. To serve, cover the cheesecake with redcurrant jam and garnish with fresh redcurrants.