the pudding heavyweight ... cheesecake
This recipe is inspired by Nigella's London Cheesecake with the addition of fresh berries on top to make a lighter and prettier result. I used the best cream cheese on the market, which is from Brown's, a silky smooth version that is superior to others on the market. These days, I'm finding that the quality of our raspberries has vastly improved and their flavour is a great addition to the cloying beauty of the baked cheese. Devour this cake with friends after a light summery lunch.
150 grams digestive biscuits
75 grams butter (melted or very soft)
600 grams cream cheese
150 grams caster sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, or seeds from 2 pods
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
For the top
145 ml sour cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or seed from 1 pod
Process the digestives into crumbs, add the butter and mix again. Line the bottom of a 20cm springform tin, pressing the biscuits in with the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to chill. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Beat the cream cheese gently until it's smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on.
Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting dish. I wrapped the tin several times so that no water could get in during the cooking process.
Pour the cream-cheese filling onto the biscuit base, and then pour boiling water into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up. Put into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. By this stage, the top should feel set but not solid. Remove from the oven whilst you whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the Springform, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it's cooled down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmould, and cover the top with sliced strawberries and upturned raspberries for a pretty summery finish.