St Clement’s Cheesecake

St Clement's Cheesecake B

Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St Clement’s! I can’t say it’s a nursery rhyme I remember but it’s a very good suggestion for a flavour combination. Oranges and lemons just work so well with the each other, the sharp-sweetness of the orange and the sweet-sharpness of the lemon (I hope you’re following me) complement each other. And did I mention I love cheesecake? Well here I am, in my elements, with food once again!

St Clement’s Cheesecake

Serves 10

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Ingredients

for the base

  • 200g shortbread biscuits, crushed in a food processor
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted

for the filling

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
  • 400g soft cheese
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 400ml double cream

for the topping

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
  • 150g caster sugar, plus extra

Method

For the base: combine the crushed biscuits and melted butter then press into the base of a deep 20cm round loose-bottomed or spring-form tin. Place in the fridge whilst preparing the filling.

For the filling: finely grate the zest of the lemons into a large mixing bowl, squeeze the juice into a small bowl and set both to one side. Measure 75ml of freshly boiled water in a heatproof jug and sprinkle the gelatine over. Mix the gelatine into the water until dissolved (the mixture will become clear, if the gelatine fails to dissolve stand the jug in a pan of hot water stirring the mixture until the gelatine dissolves), stir in the lemon juice then set to one side.

Add the soft cheese and sugar to the bowl with the lemon zest, beat together using an electric mixer (handheld or freestanding) until just combined (don’t overbeat as the cheese will lose its body). Pour in the cream and beat until the mixture thickens and holds its shape (again take care not to overbeat). Mix in the dissolved gelatine mix until smooth then transfer to the tin, spreading evenly over the biscuit base. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

For the topping: using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the zest of the oranges in strips. Slice the strips thinly, using a sharp knife, and set to one side.

Make the jelly: squeeze the juice of the oranges into a sieve set over a bowl to ensure it’s absolutely clear. Place half of the juice into a small saucepan and bring to the boil then transfer to a heatproof jug. Dissolve the gelatine in the orange juice following the steps above for dissolving it in water. Once the gelatine has dissolved, mix in the remaining orange juice and leave to cool. Pour the cooled orange jelly mix over the cheesecake and return to the fridge to chill for at least 2 more hours, or preferably overnight.

Make the candied zest: place the thin strips of orange zest into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for a few minutes. Repeat. Place the sugar in another pan with 300ml of water and dissolve over a gentle heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the orange zest and cook for 30 minutes over a low heat. Strain the zest and toss in the extra caster sugar. Store in an air-tight container until the cheesecake is ready.

It is easiest to remove the set cheesecake from the tin by heating the outside with a blowtorch or tea-towel soaked in boiling water – in this case wear rubber gloves! Decorate the cheesecake with the candied zest and serve.

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