Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mixed Berry Baked Cheesecake

So I finally got himself away from work for a little holiday and it has been wonderful. My maternal family owns a house on an island off the West Cork coast called Bere Island so we decided to go there. No matter how often I come here I am always struck by how beautiful this part of the world is and also how secluded and quiet; you can open the window in the morning and not hear a thing save for the occasional lowing cow. Magic...

While the house is very homey, with comfy couches around the fireplace and bits and bobs made by my grandparents, it is also quite basic. There is no drinkable running water and no central heating; you have to bring your own water to drink and cook with and the house is heated by the fire and plug in heaters. But even with this mild inconvenience (and the much smaller inconvenience of having no TV or internet) I wouldn't change the house for the world.

After a very early start, a 5 hour drive and a short ferry trip we landed on the island. There followed four days of long walks, peace and quiet, cuddling on the sofa infront of the fire, exploring British and Irish army battlements, talking about everything and nothing, paddling in the wind tossed Atlantic and eating good honest home cooked meals lit by candlelight.

So I decided to take a plunge I've been contemplating for a while and make baked cheesecake. This is one of Ethan's all time favourite desserts but in two and a half years I'd never made it, because I'd heard horror stories about cracking and it being just generally difficult. But something about the salty air just made me determined. I have a set of heart shaped ramekins that I used to make these in but three inch tins will be fine. I also made up a mixed berry compote to pour over the top. Granted it ended up more like a jam but it was still pronounced delicious!

Berry Compote

  • 250g frozen mixed berries
  • 30-50mls water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Put all of the ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on medium until the fruit disintegrates and everything comes together into a thick-ish sauce-like consistency. Cool completely before using in the chesecake

Mini Mixed Berry Cheesecake
Makes 2 3" cheesecakes

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp mixed berry compote
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 10-13 digestive biscuits (depending on how thick you like the base)
  • 45-50g butter (melted)
Crush the digestives and add the butter, mixing well
Press the mixture into the base and around the sides of the tins/ramekins
Chill in the fridge for 15 mins

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 160 C and make the filling!

Whip the cream cheese until light and loose
Add the sugar, lemon juice and compote and beat well (should be runnier than expected)
Mix in the flour and pour into the chilled bases
Bake for 25-30 minutes in the center of the oven, with a tray of water in the base of the oven (this helps stop cracking)

Cool completely then pour (or spread, in my case) the cooled compote over the cheesecakes and serve!

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