Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and also G’s Birthday. I wanted to be able to look after everyone on their special days so decided to call my Mum interstate, cook breakfast for G’s Mum and create something special for G in the evening. Speaking to my Mum was lovely and I am really looking forward to her visit in a few months. Breakfast consisted of a smoked salmon and asparagus quiche that I made up by adapting the zucchini slice recipe  I have written about previously. We also had homemade sourdough toast with eggs and bacon to order. G made us all some delicious coffee. Everyone enjoyed breakfast and we all felt like we needed a midday siesta.
After such a busy morning, G didn’t want me to go to too much fuss for dinner so I decided to create something that I know he loves. Open steak sandwiches (which he continually tells me I need to blog about because he thinks they are sooooo good) and lemon cheesecake. It was about 3.30pm when I decided to make the cheesecake and normally I would have been in a panic that it wouldn’t give me enough time for the cheesecake to set before dinner but I remembered that my Mum used to make a cheesecake that she set with gelatine. I went searching for such a recipe.
A few months ago my Mum very kindly passed my Nanna’s hand written cookbook on to me. It is full of some amazing recipes, household tips and cut outs from magazines. I had flipped through it a couple of times in the past and decided to look in there for the cheesecake recipe. After reading (and giggling at) some of the things that didn’t have oven temperatures, others that had no cooking time and some that didn’t even have measurements I found a cut out for exactly what I wanted.
I made this for my man, the new family in my life. I hope it also honours my Mum and my Nanna who both gave me the recipe and ignited, and continue to feed, my passion for cooking in their own way.
lemon cheesecake (adapted from my Nanna’s cookbook)
makes 1 x 20-22cm cake
250g marie biscuits
125g butter, melted
340g cream cheese, softened
1 x 395g tin condensed milk
90ml lemon juice
140ml thick cream, whipped
4 x gelatine leaves
to serve, extra cream
Crush biscuits into fine pieces. Place crushed biscuits into a large bowl, add melted butter and mix to combine well. Pour biscuit mixture into the base of a 22cm spring form tin, press down firmly to create an even base. Place this in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Place the cream cheese into a large bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the condensed milk, beating well, then add the lemon juice a little at a time. Fold in the whipped cream.
Place gelatine leaves into enough cold water to cover and allow to soften. After a minute or two they will feel like jelly. Squeeze out the excess water leaving a small amount in the leaves, place into a small bowl. Place into the microwave and cook on high for 15 – 20 secs, just enough to turn it into a liquid. If it is not loose enough add a small amount of hot water to make the mixture liquid enough to pour into the cream cheese mixture. Fold this through the mixture and pour over the base.
Before placing the cake into the refrigerator to set, shake it gently to allow any large air bubbles to come to the surface and break down. Chill for 1 1/2 hours minimum. It is set when the centre is firm if the tin is moved.
Run a flat blade knife around the inside of the cake tin to loosen the sides, remove from cake tin and cut into slices.
My tips/alterations: *The original recipe was in ounces and pints so I have converted everything accordingly. *I used my food processor to crush the biscuits but you can use a rolling pin. I used a flat bottom glass to pack the biscuit base into the tin, it makes it easier to keep the edges smooth. *I used the ratio of 1tsp powdered gelatine equals 1 gelatine leaf. If you use stronger gelatine leaves ie more than gold you will need to reduce the amount. The gelatine and the reaction between the cream and lemon juice meant that this cake set in about 1 ½ hours. I was a little worried that it might be too firm but the consistency was gorgeously silky and allowed us to cut thin slivers without the whole thing collapsing. I think I would possibly try half a gelatine sheet less just to give it a little more softness but that is just me being very picky.
ease: 8/10. I think the hardest part is to try and get the base even. Gelatine sheet are easy to use, just follow the directions.
prep time: 30mins.
cooking time: No cook required. Chill for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours.
total: 2 hours.
taste: 10/10. Firstly, I am not a huge fan of cheesecake except for the crunchy biscuit base. I know I seem to write that a lot in my blogs (that I am not really a fan of some things) but when I cook it is (hopefully) to satisfy others. It also means that I can be a little more impartial and judgemental on what I create and in turn give you an honest opinion of what I have made. So, back to the cheesecake that I am not usually a fan of. I ate approximately a quarter of this over a few nights and it was sublime. G had two pieces on the eve of his Birthday and has continued to ensure that it still tastes ok by checking it each night since. We passed some onto his Mum who (like the rest of us) also found it quite difficult not to eat more than one piece at a time. So what made it so good? The base was thick and crunchy, not sweet but had that rich buttery flavour that is a must have for any good cheesecake. It blended well with the creaminess of the cheese mixture combined a lovely lemon tang that cut the richness perfectly.
would I make it again: I think my man will make sure I do 🙂