Cheesecakes maybe have the reputation of being the ultimate dessert. These desserts have a creamy, comforting texture with a hint of crunch and can often be found on many a restaurant menu. They can also make a show stopping end to any dinner party. The cheesecake can be baked or unbaked but is usually refrigerated before serving. The beauty of this dessert is it can be flavoured or topped with fruit,nuts, whipped or soured cream or fruit sauce,caramel sauce etc. Its versatility knows no bounds.
Having just returned from a holiday in Limone (Italy), where lemons are used to flavour a variety of drinks,desserts and pastas, I craved to bake something to remind me of our sunny,relaxed days surrounded by lush Lemon Trees.
As the citrus fruit in this area are considered to be one of the reasons the inhabitants are so healthy (See footnote 1) I decided to incorporate lemon into the flavour of my cheesecake. I also decided to add a coulis using another super fruit namely ‘blueberries’. (See footnote 2)
Now let me say I am under no illusions …..Cheesecake is highly calorific, high in fat and sugar, but Hey Ho, ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, or so they say. Plus I had some very special visitors arriving and I wanted to give them something special to eat.
Anyway, enough of my chattering on. Here is the recipe for my Baked Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Coulis.
175g digestive biscuits
50g ginger nut biscuits
100g butter, melted
250g tub mascarpone
600g soft cheese
2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
zest 3 lemons, juice of 2
4 tbsp plain flour
175g caster sugar
For the topping
½ a 284ml pot soured cream
3 tbsp lemon curd
NB. I used the full fat versions of the mascarpone, cream cheese and soured cream, however there is no reason why you can’t use the lower fat varieties.
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1dessert spoon lemon juice
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line the bottom of a 23cm springform tin with greaseproof paper. Tip the biscuits and melted butter into a food processor, then blitz to make fine crumbs. Press into the tin and chill.
Whisk all the other ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined, pour into the tin, then bake for 35-40 mins until the cheesecake has a uniform wobble.
Turn off the oven and leave the cake inside until cool. When it is completely cooled, remove from the tin and top with soured cream. Swirl lemon curd over the top and decorate with raspberries, if you like
To make the coulis place all ingredients into the saucepan and heat gently until sugar has dissolved and the blueberries have softened slightly. Cool the coulis before serving with the cheesecake.
Footnote 1. A curious fact: several Limone citizens apparently possess the secret of long life. In 1979, a miraculous protein, APOLDPROTEIN A-1 MILANO, was discovered in the blood of a Limone native. This protein protects the heart by removing fat from the arteries, even with high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. In combination with the unique, mild climate and a healthy Mediterranean diet rich in fresh-water fish, olive oil, and local citrus fruits, this protein is an effective weapon against atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Footnote 2. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K. They also contain vitamin C, fibre, manganese and other antioxidants (notably anthocyanins)
Valued for its high levels of antioxidants, some nutritionists believe that if you make only one change to your diet, it should be to add blueberries.
Die-hards claim blueberries can help protect against heart disease and some cancers, as well as improve your memory.