The Vanilla Question…continued

Okay so it seems that one really can’t just put up a picture of a baked cheescake and expect to get away with it. So here’s the recipe. Now please stop throwing sticks at my windows.

This is actually all that's left of the cheesecake...seriously.
This is actually all that's left of the cheesecake...seriously.


150g unsalted butter (cold, cut into blocks)
1 packet of digestive biscuits
115g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
500g of low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature (two tubs)
250g of full-fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia, but if that’s a little extravagant then totally use something else)
2 large free-range or organic eggs
100ml of cream
1 cup of sparkling water
2 vanilla pods (cut in half lengthways and the seeds scraped out (or of course 2 caps-full of vanilla essence))
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange

What to do:

Empty the packet of digestive biscuits into a largish bowl, add the butter and then crush the two together until they’ve combined to form a roughish paste.

Rub an oven-proof dish or baking tray with a little butter so that the bottom and sides are greased up nicely.

Press the biscuit/butter mix onto the bottom so that it makes an even crust and bake in an oven on about 180 °C until it’s browned, then remove and set aside.

Get another largish bowl (or just wash, dry and re-use the one you used for the biscuit base – don’t ever say I’m not looking out for your washing up) and combine the sugar and cornflower. Add the cream cheese and whisk it until it combined with the sugar and has started to take on a really smooth, almost velvety texture (if you do this by hand – prepare to seriously break a sweat). Then add the eggs, and continue to beat.

Now, this is the delicate bit: add about a third of the cream and continue to beat until it’s all in there. Then add about half the sparkling water and – you guessed it, continue to beat. Then another third of the cream, beat, the rest of the water, beat, the last of the cream. Beat.

Finally add the vanilla seeds and zest, give it a final beat and then empty the mix onto the biscuit base.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 °C for about 45 minutes. Check to see if the sides of the cheesecake have set (they should be slightly pulling away from the sides of your baking dish) and then let it cool for about 3 hours or so.

I’m impatient, so I put it in the fridge for about an hour or so.

3 thoughts on “The Vanilla Question…continued

  1. For a slightly lower-fat option, try substituting the full-fat cream cheese for 250-300g pureed strawberries. (I’ve also done pumpkin, apple, mango, and banana… everything works.)

    1. Ah yes, the fruit substitution – always good. Although the “fat-laden” version does give me impetus to haul on my running shoes every morning.

  2. OK. From the land of Philadelphia cream cheese…just wanted to let you know its sitting on my window sill cooling right now.

    Smells like the bomb. Cooked like a dream. Can’t wait to tuck in.

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