This is not strictly speaking a “bake”, as it doesn’t bake in the oven, it sets in the fridge. But it is a cake (or dessert), and I wanted to try it out.
So here we are!
My source, Taste.com, describes this cheesecake as follows: The lusciously light lemony centre makes this dessert cheesecake a standout.
Another stand-out, at first glance, was the vast quantity of cream required: 2 cups, or 500 ml! I reduced it to 1 cup as I was afraid that the whole mixture wouldn’t fit into the proscribed 20 cm springform pan. Well, it could have, as it turned out. But I did taste the mixture before I poured it into the base, and felt that the cream would have predominated, and weakened the lemony flavour.
It took quite a long time to make, probably due more to my inexperience of such recipes than the recipe itself. It looked so simple on paper! And I had offered to take a dessert to friends for dinner this evening.
That’s another thing: I was also afraid that it wouldn’t set in time if I made it this morning, so I made it last night, following the alternative suggestion to let it set in the frig overnight.
The biscuits proved an additional problem: the recipe is Australian, and required crushed biscuits not available here in Sweden, nor in my native South Africa for the base: Ascott’s Nice biscuits. I wasn’t sure if these are bland, savoury-salty (unlikely), or flavoured in some way (vanilla?) So I googled Ascott’s, and wrote to their helpline to find out. Shortly after I received a friendly reply from Pam McKenzie, Ascott’s Consumer Contact Representative, who described them as “a sweet biscuit that has a sugar coating on top of the biscuit. Hope this is of some help with your recipe!”
the next time I went to COOP, our local supermarket chain, I searched for similar biscuits, without success. The best I could do was a packet of “a” brand plain biscuits (a COOP product), with a vanilla flavour.
Well! Then I discovered how loaded with fat these biscuits are! As soon as I whizzed them in my blender (as per the instructions), they turned from fine crumbs into a disgusting fatty mass! By this time I had already melted 125 g butter, with which to make my base. So I only added a little melted butter, and discarded the rest. The base was already way too buttery. Time was short, as it was already night-time, and I just didn’t have the energy to go back to COOP to look for better biscuits.
The only alternative, which I have used before for cheese cake – and which is delicious – was the iconic Swedish Peperkakor (ginger-spicy biscuits.) These would not have worked for this particular cheese cake, as the ginger flavour, while lovely, would have predominated over the delicate lemony flavour.
I then pressed this mixture, to which 1 tsp of finely grated lemon rind had been added – also in the blender – into the bottom of the springform pan, and popped it into the fridge to set while I made the filling.
Here’s the recipe, with my additional remarks:
250 g packet biscuits – Do try to find crispy, fine biscuits with as little fat as possible, sweet, but without any particular flavour. And I don’t mean boring old Marie biscuits, or overly robust Digestives!
125 g unsalted butter, melted. Mine was salted, which was fine.
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
60 (1/4 cup) cold water
3 tsps gelatin powder
2 x 250 g tubs cream cheese (Philadelphia) at room temperature Oops! I didn’t read the containers properly: each tub here weighs 200 g – not 250 g, as I think they do in SA. So I had to raid Pete’s low-fat Philly to bring my cream cheese to the required 500 g quantity. This minor error didn’t affect the outcome at all.
140 (3/4 cup) castor sugar. This is very hard to find in Sweden, so I just used ordinary white sugar, and beat it with the Philly for an extra-long time until the sugar was dissolved and the mixture smooth.
2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice (1/2 a medium-sized lemon)
500 ml (2 cups) thickened cream (Carnation). I haven’t seen Carnation here, so used ordinary Vispgrädde (whipping cream), which was fine. And more authentic.
2 egg whites (I kept the yolks to add to my breakfast protein shakes.)
½ cup lemon curd. I found I needed more.
- Process the biscuits in a food processor until finely crushed. Add the butter and lemon rind, and process until well combined. Press the mixture firmly over the base and side of a 20cm springform pan. (I only covered the base, not the sides.) Cover with plastic wrap (or just pop the tin into a large plastic bag and tie the ends in a knot) and place in the fridge for 30 mins to chill.
- Meanwhile, place the cold water in a small pan (pot), sprinkle over the gelatin, and stir over low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Set aside to cool slightly. If you leave it too long, as I did to take a phone call, it starts to set. Then I had to heat and dissolve it again.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric beater until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat until combined.
- Use a clean beater and another bowl to beat the cream until soft peaks form.
- Again use a clean beater, and a glass or metal bowl, to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Stir the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese mixture until combined. Rather use the electric beater, and add the gelatin mixture, while STILL WARM, in a thin stream. This way the gelatin will be well combined, and not form nasty rubbery strings!
- Fold in the cream and egg whites, gently, with a large metal spoon.
- Spoon half – a third, rather – of the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan. Spoon over half – a third – of the lemon curd. Use a skewer to create a swirled effect. Perhaps i should have used a knife rather than a skewer to create this effect, as my cake turned out to have a layered look inside, rather than a swirled one.
Repeat with the remaining cheesecake mixture and lemon curd.
9. Place the cheesecake in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight to set.
I then decorated the top with extra grated lemon rind for a more attractive finish.
This dessert, while not exactly a masterpiece, was light, lemony, fragrant and delicious. Especially after Nick’s lovely vegetarian meal of grilled haloumi vegetable kebabs (pictured above), served with salad, kale and gorgeous cloves of pickled garlic!