Today’s recipe has probably been in my cooking repertoire the longest, a very easy lemon cheesecake.
In the cheesecake world, there are two types, either the creamy variety like this one (which I call “American” on the basis that, eh, it’s easy), or the baked variety (which I refer to as “European” cheesecake, on the basis that I was first presented with this when on holiday in Germany aged fourteen and went into a bit of sulk as it was not what I expected from a “cheesecake”). If anyone is able to add a little more refinement to my classifications, I would welcome it!
This recipe is not a million miles away from some of the recipes for Key Lime Pie that I have seen, albeit that they usually involve eggs, but they rely on the reaction with the tart citrus juice to thicken the filling. This cheesecake is great as there is no messing about with eggs or baking it in the oven – the filling is a mixture of cream cheese and condensed milk, to which you add lemon juice. Like magic, it thickens up, and if you leave it to sit overnight in the fridge, it sets quite well. Using good, fresh lemons means that the cheesecake will be sharp and zingy, and the lack of eggs, butter etc. means that the finished result is also surprisingly light.
For the base, you can use the usual (boring) sweet digestive biscuits, which work well, but I like to use ginger nuts, which have a little more flavour and work well with the cream cheese and lemon. This also works well with speculaas biscuits, if you like that sort of thing.
For one cheesecake:
• 250g biscuits (digestive, ginger nuts etc).
• 50g butter
• 1 tin condensed milk (450g)
• 400g cream cheese (2 packets)
• 2 lemons, zest and juice only
For the base: Crush the biscuits finely. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the biscuit crumbs. Mix well, and pour into the bottom of a loose-bottomed flan case (mine was 20cm diameter). Spread the mixture out, and pat down firmly and smooth with the back of a spoon. Leave in the fridge to set.
For the filling: Put the condensed milk, cream cheese and lemon zest in a bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined and the mixture thickens (this happens quickly). Pour the filling mixture into the flan dish. Shake the pan lightly from side to side so that the surface evens off.
Place the cheesecake in the fridge and allow to rest overnight. The filling will continue to set, and will hold its shape when you cut it.
Worth making? I love this recipe, as it is really easy and ensures good results. I have also had quite a few requests from friends to give them the recipe, which I take to mean that people probably like it too. Just be sure to use the best, most tart lemons you can get hold of so that the flavour shines through.