19 August 2010

Axel's Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe

Axel's Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe

My sister and her family came to visit at the weekend, so I was scrabbling around trying to come up with a summery pudding to create, while the rain was gushing down outside in torrents.  I decided that roast chicken with all the trimmings, followed by a cheesecake was the answer, but with some summer fruits inside the cheesecake and a bright red coulis drizzled over it. 

I toyed with the idea of making the raspberry coulis first, then mixing that into the cream and making a pink cheesecake, which would have gone down a storm with the girls, but wimped out as I preferred the idea of getting bites of tart raspberry in clusters of flavour and differing textures, running through the smoothness of the cream cheese filling. 

Cheesecakes are remarkably easy to make and seem to be generally popular with children, and homemade ones are much tastier than shop bought versions that always seem really heavy, then sit like a lump inside your tummy like a lead weight for hours afterwards. You do not need to use raspberries and can substitute them for other summer fruits, like blackcurrants, blackberries or strawberries, so adjust the recipe accordingly.  Similarly, you do not need the coulis and could just serve it naked and pure, or with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Axel Steenberg's Summer Fruit Cheesecake Recipe

For the base:

150g / 5½ oz digestive biscuits (or in US, Graham cracker or Nilla wafer)

30g / 1oz pecan nuts

75g / 3oz unsalted butter

1 tsp Steenbergs organic Fairtrade pure vanilla extract (that’s the sales pitch done; or any other good quality vanilla extract)

For the cream cheese filling:

350g / 11oz full fat cream cheese

100g / 3½ oz soured cream

150g / 5oz caster sugar

4 medium eggs

1tsp pure natural vanilla extract

Juice from ½ lemon (rest is used in making raspberry coulis)

Zest from 1 lemon

Good sized handful of fresh raspberries

4 pinches of Steenbergs organic mixed spice

For the raspberry coulis

350g / 12oz fresh raspberries, picked over and washed

45g / 1½ oz granulated sugar

Juice from ½ lemon

70ml / 2½ oz water

1.  Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF.

2.  Lightly grease and line the base of a 20cm / 8 inch round sandwich tin, that has a springform surround.  Place into a fridge to chill, whilst you prepare the biscuit crumb base.

3.  Place the biscuits and pecan nuts into a food processor and whizz until they reach a smallish crumb.  Take from the food processor, place into a bowl and then add the organic Fairtrade vanilla extract and melted butter.  Mix well until all the crumbs are decently coated with liquid - I use a knife for this stage.

Ingredients for cheesecake base

Pour the melted butter into the crumb mix

4.  Get the lined cake tin from the fridge.  Tip the crumb mixture into the pan, then press the mix into the base and all the corners until even and nicely pressed down.  Put the lined tin into the fridge to harden.

Pressing cheesecake crumb mix into cake tin

5.  Now measure out all the ingredients for the filling except the raspberries or other fruit.  Put all of these into a mixing bowl or processor and mix/process until smooth and well mixed together.  It is worth scraping down the sides a couple of times with a spatula to make sure that everything has mixed thoroughly.

Ingredients for cheesecake filling

6.  Go and get the crumb base from the fridge, then evenly place a handful of fresh raspberries over the biscuity base.  Now pour over the cream cheese mix gently.  Afterwards, I then go over the raspberries to try and even them out a bit; do not overdo this tidying up, but you do not want someone to get all the raspberries, while someone else goes without - that would be really bad form.  Sprinkle delicately 4 pinches of mixed spice over the top of the cheesecake filling.

Pouring the cheesecake mix over crumb base and raspberries

Cheesecake ready for baking with mixed spice sprinkled on top

7.  Put centrally into the oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until just set.  Remove from oven and leave to cool completely, then remove the springform outside ring of the cake and place the cake (still on its base) into the fridge to chill through.

Baked cheesecake just out of oven

8.  While it is cooling, it is time to make the raspberry coulis.  Place the raspberries into a pan, together with the lemon juice, water and sugar.  Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.  Leave to cool thoroughly.  While it is cooling, check the sweetness of the raspberries and adjust sugar level if necessary as they can be really tart.

Ingredients for raspberry coulis

Lovely cooked raspberries

9.  Process the raspberries throughly to a smooth paste either with a hand held processor or in a larger processor.  Now sieve the raspberry paste into a jug or bowl to remove the seeds.  You will need to squish the juice through with a tablespoon.  Put into the fridge to cool.

Sieving raspberries for raspberry coulis

10.  Before serving remove from the fridge to warm up a little.  Cut into smallish slices and place onto a plate, then drizzle over some of the raspberry coulis.  I served the cheesecake with some homemade shortbread for added texture.

Raspberry Cheesecake With Raspberry Coulis