Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year and while we’re all in lockdown I thought I’d bring you a super easy, luxurious cheesecake that you can share with all your family after Sunday lunch.
It’s ideal for the children to help with and you can decorate it with strawberry hearts for fun. This recipe will serve eight or more people and is still delicious the next day and even the day after that! If there’s just the two of you, divide the amounts in half and use four large ramekins to make two for Valentine’s Day and two for the following day. Go on; push the boat out! Line ramekins with some foil otherwise the cheesecake will stick like mad.
I wanted to swirl the strawberry sauce on top, but when I tried, it just made blobs and looked awful! So I quickly rethought my design and ended up spreading all the sauce over the top, rather than serving it separately. I think it would look better with just the strawberry hearts on the white filling and serving the sauce in a little jug. I have cut the sugar down considerably in this recipe and you may be able to cut it down more. Just add a little at a time and keep tasting.
Ingredients – Serves at least 8
200g digestive biscuits
100g butter, melted
For the filling:
430g full fat soft cream cheese
50 – 80g sieved icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
190ml double cream
1 punnet strawberries
a little icing sugar
Optional mint leaves to decorate
Lightly oil a 20cm loose bottom flan tin. I also lined the sides of mine with baking parchment to make it a bit deeper, but there was actually no need as the filling was the perfect amount. Place the biscuits in a sturdy food bag (or a large basin) and bash with a rolling pin until crushed. (The children love doing that bit if nothing else). Place in a bowl and pour in the melted butter and mix well. Turn into the prepared tin and press down with the back of a spoon. To make the filling, place the cream cheese in a bowl, and sift over some of the icing sugar. Add the vanilla and beat well with an electric mixer.
Have a taste and see if it needs more sugar. Add the double cream and whisk well until smooth and thick. Taste again and add more sugar if needed. It’s yummy already! Scrape the filling onto the biscuit base and level off the top. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To make the sauce, firstly reserve 2 nicely shaped strawberries. Tip the rest into a food processor, (or use a stick blender) and whizz until smooth. You may need a tiny bit of water. Add icing sugar if you like, to taste. If you want to remove the tiny pips, pass the sauce through a sieve. To serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the loose bottomed tin and see if you can slide it off the loose base onto a serving plate. Mine was stuck! I wrestled it off, but you could leave it on the tin base, it wouldn’t matter. Slice each strawberry into 4 and with a small knife make them look a little more like hearts if desired. Arrange on top in a circle with a mint sprig if you have one, and serve the cheesecake sliced, with the sauce on the side. (Or tip the sauce all over the top as I did and arrange the strawberry slices in the same way.) Have it with cream for extra richness.
So here it is, a very rich but delicious cheesecake that you can whip up quickly, use different fruits for toppings or even keep plain. This is a recipe I shall return to again and again, especially once we’re out of lockdown and can have those wonderful family barbecues again!
Happy Valentine’s Day!