lemon-ripple-cheesecake-turned-out-edCredit: https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/27810/lemon+ripple+cheesecake

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.

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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:

Ingredients

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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.

Method

  1. 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.) lemon-ripple-cheesecake-1-edCover 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric beater until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat until combined.

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  1. Use a clean beater and another bowl to beat the cream until soft peaks form.

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  1. Again use a clean beater, and a glass or metal bowl, to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  2. 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!
  3. Fold in the cream and egg whites, gently, with a large metal spoon.
  4. 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.

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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.

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nicks-haloumi-kebabs  

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!

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