…or, indeed, any day. This is so good you’ll want to make it again, and again, and again,
When I heard that Avonmore were launching a new Dessert Cream, and running a competition to find the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert, I knew immediately that this treat was The One, so to speak. I can’t claim any praise for inventing this recipe – it was thought up by a very good friend of mine from college. We were so obsessed with this cheesecake that we would make it at least once a month, and devour it. Not only that, we’d also confer to see which of us had fewer housemates due home that night…fewer housemates meant fewer people to share it with, you see. Greed is good, my friends. Greed is good.
Aside from being utterly delicious, this dessert is ludicrously easy to make. It’s a no-bake, just-chill cheesecake – crushed biscuits are mixed with butter for the base, and the easily-whisked together topping is dolloped lazily on top. So far, so what? Well there are a few little twists lurking beneath the surface which take this simple sweet to the next level of lusciousness. Firstly, instead of sandy, everyday Digestives, we use Café Noir biscuits, with their sweet, coffee icing, as the base. Secondly, we add another layer of interest by spooning some crushed tinned raspberries on top of the biscuits, before finishing with the cream-cheese topping. The squashed, syrupy berries slowly ooze their delectable flavour into the biscuits, adding a sweetly-sticky, raspberry scent which ties the whole dish together. Anyone who’s ever eaten this has immediately asked for the recipe, which I think speaks for itself.
Finally, many of you will have noticed that my photo skills are rather lacking – I blame my camera but really I lack the requisite patience, and usually want to hoover up whatever I’ve just cooked instead of having to delicately style and photograph it – but that is thankfully about to change as I’ve collaborated with a photographer friend of mine, the wonderful Simon Curran of iamacosmonaut. With his infinite patience and mad camera skillz, Simon produced some truly dreamy food shots, which I am delighted to be able to share with you today. The styling was mostly done by yours truly – with some help and inspiration from a friend – and I’m thrilled with the results. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed shooting them, and hopefully this is the tip of the iceberg for future collaborations!
Romantic Raspberry Cheesecake – serves 1-8
For the base:
150g Cafe Noir biscuits (i.e. 1.5 packets)
75g butter, melted
For the topping:
200g creme fraiche
200g cream cheese
1 tbsp of Avonmore Fresh Dessert Cream
2 x tins of raspberries, either in their own juice or in syrup
1. Begin by crushing the biscuits, either in a food processor or the old-fashioned way, in a plastic bag and with a heavy implement. If using the processor, be careful not to process too much – you want crumbs, not dust.
2. In a bowl, mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter until thoroughly combined. Press into the bottom of a 23cm cheesecake tin.
3. Take one tin of raspberries, open and drain off the juice. Plunge a fork into the tin and furiously whisk to roughly break up the raspberries. Dollop spoonfuls of the resulting muddled berries on top of the biscuit base, smoothing and spreading as you go with the back of a dessert/soup spoon.
4. In a second bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, cream and cream cheese. Add a spritz of lemon juice, mix thoroughly and taste. If it’s a little tart, add a small amount of sieved icing sugar and whisk it in. Taste again and adjust as necessary.
5. To your cream cheese mixture, add the second tin of drained raspberries, and mix. You can either lazily marble it through, which looks very pretty, or stir more energetically for a uniformly pink-hued topping. Dollop on top of the be-raspberried base and refrigerate for 4 or so hours or, better still, overnight.
6. Serve with some fresh raspberries, pour over some Avonmore Dessert Cream, and commence gorging.
Some provisos: the topping is quite sloppy, so it does need to be made in advance, unless you’re happy with a cheesecake that doesn’t slice beautifully. No matter, it’s easier to get it done in advance anyway. Secondly, if using regular single cream, just use 3/4 of a tablespoon, as it’s thinner than the Fresh Dessert Cream I’ve specified here.