Monday, 7 July 2014

Strawberry and lemon geranium cheesecake


I am a firm believer in eating foods that are in season (and preferably local and organic).Cheesecake is always a popular pudding choice with our guests so I try to make a cheesecake that reflects the particular season.In early Spring, when bitter  oranges were abundant, I made a Seville orange cheesecake.More recently I made a Tarte de nêsperas.This week I thought it would be a good idea as its July and strawberries are still in season (just,They are now from the More temperate north but still national)to use them for this summer recipe.Strawberries lend themselves to experiments with different flavours.A little black pepper will enhance the flavour and fresh basil works really well with strawberries.I cast my memory back a few years and remember Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall adding lemon geranium leaves to strawberry jam.It gave me an idea. How about cheesecake infused with Lemon geranium and strawberries.This is a simple no bake cheesecake and is wonderfully light and fluffy.

FOR THE BASE:
175g (6oz) digestive biscuits, finely crushed
75g (3oz) butter, melted

Place the biscuits and butter in a bowl, mix well and press into the base of the tin. Chill whilst you make the filling.
FOR THE FILLING:
about 12 lemon geranium leaves,torn

225g (8oz) strawberries, hulled and halved
25g (1oz) caster sugar
2 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water
300g (10oz) cream cheese
150ml (1/4 pt) whipping cream infused with lemon geranium leaves
150ml (1/4 pt) natural Greek yoghurt

To make your strawberry cheesecake you will need:
a 20cm (8in) springform cake tin, base lined with baking parchment

Place the strawberries, caster sugar and 2 tbsp water in a saucepan and cook on a moderate heat until the strawberries are very soft. Puree the mixture in a blender and push through a fine sieve back into the saucepan that you cooked them in. Warm the strawberry puree again and when hot, squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and add to the strawberry puree. Swirl the pan to make sure that the gelatine is completely dissolved. Set aside.

Warm the cream with the torn geranium leaves in a pan until it just simmers. Turn off the heat and leave for 30 mins for the flavours to infuse. Strain off and discard the leaves.When the cream is cool whip it to soft peaks.
 
Place the cream cheese and remaining sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add the cooled strawberry and gelatine mixture and beat again. Add the yogurt and infused cream and fold in until thoroughly combined . Pour over the biscuit base and chill for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

To serve the cheesecake, run a round bladed knife around the outside of the tin and release the tin. Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Decorate the top with a few halved strawberries and serve Your strawberry cheesecake will keep for 3 days, covered in the fridge.






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