Save some space for dessert…

Cheesecake was perhaps the first dessert that I ever mastered; after all, making something for six weeks in a row as part of a Year 10 Food Technology GCSE coursework project will have that effect.  (And yes, I really did use GCSE coursework as an excuse to indulge my love of dessert – as you might have noticed, I have a serious sweet tooth.) While others were busy cooking up cottage pies, quiches and jam tarts, I spent six weeks learning how to line paper cupcake cases with a digestive biscuit base, how to judge the exact consistency of perfectly whipped cream and how to pipe cheesecake mix in pretty swirls without making a mess.  It’s no surprise that these days I still have an eye for perfection and a passion for good presentation in all things culinary…

Five years later, my love of cheesecake is still as strong as it was when I was fifteen, although I these days, I swear by the baked version rather than the fridge-set version I used to make.  I just find that baked cheesecake, if done well, is richer, denser, creamier and more satisfying than its no-bake counterpart…but that’s just me.

Baked cheesecake – 24/12/2011

The base of this cheesecake was the only thing that really let it down; I found that the ratio of butter to biscuits was too high, leaving the base a little soft and soggy rather than crisp and crunchy as it should have been.  However, the filling was perfect, creamy and soft and luxurious, but not too heavy or sweet and not too overpoweringly rich either; the addition of lemon zest and good vanilla extract cuts through the dairy nicely.  Of course, you can experiment with various flavours; the neutrality of plain cheesecake makes it a great canvas for things like fruit or chocolate.  Dark chocolate and orange would be good, a nice twist on a classic combination.  Personally, I’d like to try out a salted caramel version in the future – I think it would add an interesting dimension to an already great dessert.

(Recipe taken from BBC Good Food website.)

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