Today, me and my hubby have been together for 8 years!
So, to celebrate, we went to see Avengers. Because we are super cool. It was utterly epic guys.
I also made us some cheesecake! In our early days, back in our university halls, we spent a lot of time devouring cheesecakes. Whole, feed-a-family size cheesecakes. Between two people. We were 19, we could get away with it! Now we’re grown up, we have to be a bit more sensible. In theory.
Anyway, one thing we still adore is cheesecake. It’s our go-to dessert for any kind of occasion. I’ve made a few baked cheesecakes in the past with mixed results, and I have yet to achieve the “perfect” cheesecake – today’s being no exception – but while it doesn’t look the best, it tastes a-maze-ing! Definitely better than store bought. The filling is just SO creamy! And the base so buttery! Mmmm.
I have adapted this recipe from another ofmy M&S Easy cookbooks – this time “Easy Meals for Two”. The original is a vanilla cheesecake with passionfruit seeds on top to decorate. But I soon learned that it was easy to change the recipe up to create a totally different cheesecake.
Today I used double chocolate digestives for my biscuit base. The chocolate on top of the biscuits meant I needed to add a bit more biscuits to the mix, because the chocolate melted with the butter and made a wetter mixture. This would end up being very solid once baked, and I prefer a crumblier base.
When it comes to cream cheese for cheesecakes, only the best will do. Low fat cream cheeses won’t set as well when baked, and also won’t give that classic creamy taste. Not good. Always use a full fat cream cheese – I used Philadelphia. Nom.
As for cream, I actually use cream substitute in the form of Elmlea. I have a bit of a lactose intolerance, and I have found in the past that using real cream can sometimes take it a step too far and cause me to have a reaction. Elmlea, however, doesn’t. It is also sweeter than real cream, and adds to the taste of the cheesecake. Only problem is, they don’t seem to make a small pot of Elmlea anymore, so you end up having to buy a great big tub for just three tablespoons! But you can pour it all over later so it’s not the end of the world.
I have learned in the past that you do not want to add too much cream to the mixture. I did that once because I didn’t want to waste the cream – I ended up with a cheesecake that refused to set, and gooped out in the middle when we cut it! So less is more here. Like I say, you can always pour any unused cream over it later!
I also attempted decorating the cheesecake today. I think if my oven wasn’t so pants and baked things properly, it would have worked. Basically, while my cheesecake baked, I melted some cooking chocolate, and put it into a piping back. Then about half way through the cooking time, I took the cheesecake out and piped chocolate hearts onto the top. If it had cooked more evenly, I imagine they would have stayed intact; however, I had to cook the cheesecake a lot longer than the recipe called for as it just wasn’t cooking in the middle at all, so I ended up with a browned top and cracked chocolate. It doesn’t affect the flavour, just the look of it.
I had some chocolate left over, so I piped some more hearts onto a sheet of tin foil and left them to set. I used these later for additional decoration!
All in all, it wasn’t the prettiest cheesecake, but damn, it tasted good! Happy 8 years together anniversary, hubby!
Cookies and Cream Cheesecake
Baked in a 15cm/6in pan, will serve 4-6, depending on how greedy folks are!
For the base
- 100g chocolate biscuits – I used McVities double chocolate digestives
- 50g butter
For the filling
- 280g pack of full-fat cream cheese
- 70g caster sugar
- 3tbsp double cream
- 2 small eggs
- 2tsp vanilla essence
- 40g chocolate, melted, to decorate – optional
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a cake tin by wrapping foil tightly around the base – this stops the butter leaking out too much and burning in the oven!
- To make the base, melt the butter gently in a saucepan. Meanwhile, place the biscuits in a bag and crush. Once the butter is melted, take the pan off the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits thoroughly. Then tip the butter biscuit mix into the cake tin
- In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Lightly beat the eggs and then beat into the cream cheese mixture, along with the cream, making sure there are no lumps
- Tip the mixture into the cake tin, then bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top is set and the centre wobbles slightly when shaken
- Leave to cool, then run a knife around the side of the tin and release
- If decorating with chocolate, pipe shapes or swirls of melted chocolate onto the cheesecake about half way through the cooking time; alternatively, sprinkle with chocolate when serving
I have read online that baking the cheesecake in a pan of water keeps the top from burning and cracking, so next time I make one I will try that!
This week’s recipe is adapted from Marks & Spencer Easy Meals for Two; I have switched some ingredients and increased them to make a larger cheesecake.