Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Bramble Crumble Cheesecake.

Welcome hoooome (remember, we're having to pretend you just got back)!! Although I will see and speak to you just as much as if you were still across the pond, it feels nice to know that there isn't an entire ocean between us. Now, however glad I am to have you home, I know you'll still be hankering after the bright lights of NYC for some time to come, so I thought I'd ease you back in to homeyness with a recipe that combines the best of lolloping British countryside and the cosmopolitan blocks of NeW Yoik- Blackberry Crumble Cheesecake.

And you best get ready for a bit of an onslaught of bramble recipes. And elderberry recipes. And apple recipes. And rosehip recipes. And perhaps even sloe recipes if I can hunt down Fife's secret supply. For foraging season is upon us, and I already have a fairly major haul, and a fairly minor freezer.

So grab your wellies and get out amongst the hedges for a long afternoon of being rained and sunshined on, getting your fingers scratched and thorns stuck in your arms and getting frustrated because the best berries are ALWAYS either too high to reach or rather too up close and personal with the brambles' best mate; the stinging nettle.

And you will get stung and you will reach too far- you just will. Do it and you will fall in love with where you're from just a bit more and not care quite so much that the next time you have a really good strawberry is, at least, 8 months away. With Love and Cake.

Blackberry Crumble Cheesecake
Adapted from Real Food by Nigel Slater

A few notes:
  • The cheesecake layer of this cake is definitely best after a few hours or a night in the fridge. Before that it tastes a bit too eggy and has a quiche-like texture. You sacrifice a bit of crunch from the crumble but it is worth it, trust me.
  • A nice alternative to digestives would be ginger biscuits- if you try it let me know how it turns out.
  • The juice you get left over from cooking the berries can either be served with the cake, or kept for other things- pancakes, ice-cream, yogurt etcetc. 
Makes an 18cm cake
You will need 

an 18cm round cake tin, greased

150g digestives
50g butter, melted
400g cream cheese
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g caster sugar
300g blackberries

For the crumble
100g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
75g butter, at room temperature

  • Preheat the oven to 180°.
  • First lets make the base by crushing the biscuits and mixing with the butter- you can do this by bashing the biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin or in a food processor.
  • Press the sandy mixture firmly down into the bottom of your cake tin with your hands or a flat spoon or spatula and pop into the fridge.
  • Mix the cream cheese, beaten eggs, lemon zest and roughly half the sugar together with a whisk until well combined and thick and creamy.
  • Pour the filling over the biscuit crust in the tin, with the tin on a baking tray to catch leaks, and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until almost set with still a bit of a wobble.
  • Meanwhile get on with the topping-first the fruit. Pop the berries into a pan with the other half of the caster sugar and a tiny splosh of water and simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the berries are soft and the liquid is syrupy.
  • For the crumble, mix the flour with the sugar then rub in the butter until the mixture looks like rough breadcrumbs- either do this with your fingertips or with a food processor.
  • When the cheesecake is ready to come out of the oven, let it cool slightly, then lift the fruit out of the pan with a slotted spoon and spoon over the cake so that just a few tablespoons of juice make the journey.
  • Tumble the crumble mix over the top of this and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the top looks deliciously golden.
  • Leave to cool then pop in the fridge for a good few hours or overnight. Mmmmmmm.

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