How about a baked cheesecake made with creamy white chocolate and mascarpone to impress your guests with next time you entertain? It’s got a ginger cookie base that compliments the cheesecake perfectly, and it looks incredible drizzled with raspberry coulis. The best thing is, it’s really easy to make!
To the surprise of many who know me, I’m not a huge fan of entertaining. Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy having friends and family over for the socialising part, but I really don’t care for spending all day stressing at the shops, and then in the kitchen, before they arrive.
And what I most definitely don’t want to be doing is flapping around in the kitchen after my guests have arrived. So what’s a girl who doesn’t want to buy ready-made or spend all day slaving over homemade to do?
Well, I think I might have come up with a winning formula, which is simply to choose dishes that can as much as possible be prepared in advance.
So this past weekend our next door neighbour came over for a 3-course dinner that I’d prepared more or less entirely ahead – once we’d got over our little false start, that is (we didn’t hear him knock, he thought he’d got the wrong day, he left us a note, we didn’t see the note, we waited an hour, began to think he must have forgotten, then knocked on his door… and over he came! Phew! All very ‘too polite’ British, I tell you.)
Our first course was these INCREDIBLE (honestly, they’re amazing!) crispy halloumi fries, which I pre-sliced and rolled in flour.
Then we had my Greek lemon chicken, which is so simple it’s almost ridiculous, but it’s delicious and goes so, so, so well with this perfect Greek salad and tzatziki. You can pre-slice the potatoes, whisk up the marinade, pre-make the tzatziki, and assemble the salad ahead of time.
And then what better dessert to choose than a cheesecake? I’m pretty sure almost everyone likes it, don’t they? And actually you have to make it ahead – it needs to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
So this white chocolate baked cheesecake is the first baked one I’ve attempted. I guess I always thought they were tricky to make. But really, the trickiest part is knowing when it’s cooked, and letting it cool slowly so it doesn’t crack. Let’s face it, though, this isn’t exactly rocket science either!
And who cares if it does crack a bit, or the middle sinks a bit? Not me (not that I’m speaking from experience of course). To be honest with you – because we always like to say it how it is around here – when I last made this, I broke my spring form pan and a bit of the cheesecake oozed out in the oven.
As a result the top of my finished cheesecake was by no means perfect, but I think it still looked pretty snazzy when I served it up. Don’t you?
I know that some people like to bake cheesecake in a bath of water to help it cook slowly and evenly, but I wanted to keep this as simple as possible, so I didn’t bother with that.
What I did do though is switch the oven off as soon as the cheesecake looked set around the edges but still a bit jiggly (like wobbly jelly) in the middle. Then I opened the oven door slightly and let the cheesecake cool slowly – to avoid cracks.
Because that doesn’t take any effort at all to do now, does it?
Then while the cheesecake’s busy setting in the fridge, you make your raspberry coulis to slosh over the top when you serve it. I know a ‘coulis’ sounds posh and difficult, but to make it you literally just dump raspberries in a pan, add a bit of icing sugar and lemon juice, then heat for a couple of minutes until the fruit starts to break down. Whizz up in a food processor with a few drizzles of water, and there’s your posh coulis!
My inspiration for this recipe came from two sources: a similar Jamie Oliver cheesecake that Mr. Scrummy and I tasted in one of his restaurants on our wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and a white chocolate baked cheesecake recipe by the lovely Mary Berry, food goddess extraordinaire here in the UK.
I fiddled around with the cheeses in Mary’s recipe, because I wanted mine to be a mascarpone cheesecake like Jamie’s, and I also made my own base and raspberry topping, but essentially I (and you!) have Mary to thank for this deliciousness.
Thank you, Mary!
Serves: at least 10
- 200 grams / 7 ounces ginger cookies
- 70 grams / 2.5 ounces butter, melted
- 300 grams / 10.5 ounces white chocolate
- 2 eggs
- 200 grams / 7 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 200 grams / 7 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 150 ml / 5.3 fluid ounces heavy / double cream
- 400 grams / 10 to 11 ounces raspberries
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ / icing sugar
- a couple of big squeezes of lemon juice
- Line the base of a spring form pan (roughly 9 inches in diameter) with baking paper.
- Whizz the ginger cookies up in a food processor until they become fine crumbs. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the ginger cookie crumbs and stir until well combined.
- Tip the crumbs into the prepared pan and flatten down and push to the edges with the back of a metal spoon. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 150C / 300F.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave in 30-second bursts. Whisk the eggs into the mascarpone and cream cheeses with a hand-held whisk, then whisk in the cream and vanilla essence.
- Finally, gradually whisk in the white chocolate, then remove the cookie base from the fridge and pour the cheesecake mixture on top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but still jiggles in the middle like a jelly that hasn’t quite set.
- Switch the oven off and slightly open the door, but leave the cheesecake in to cool slowly. After about an hour, take the cheesecake out of the oven. When it’s cooled completely, cover it and put it in the fridge to set for at least four hours (preferably overnight).
- To make the raspberry coulis, heat half of the raspberries with the confectioners’ / icing sugar and the lemon juice until the raspberries start to bubble and break down (just a couple of minutes).
- Whizz the mixture in a food processor until smooth. Then whizz in a few drizzles of water until the raspberries are a pouring consistency. Pour into a jug ready for serving.
- Serve slices of the cheesecake straight from the fridge topped with three or four raspberries and raspberry coulis.
If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water (just don’t allow the bowl to touch the water).
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