I was going to make an almondy orangey cake, the recipe for which I had obtained from an acquaintance, and which I was desperate to whip up, and then share with the world, but the Husband put a spanner in the works by requesting cheesecake. "But none of your baked cheesecake nonsense" said he, ever to the point. " A proper one". He means a no-baked, cream cheese type, true retro dinner party fodder.
Fortunately for him, I was able to oblige, particularly as the orange cake was going to mean going out to buy eggs (the chickens are reluctant to lay when it's anything less than about 12 degrees outside - very high maintenance) - and by chance I had a tub of Philadelphia in the fridge. The orange cake will have to wait, I'm afraid.
I can't give you the exact recipe for the cheesecake bit because, starting from a combination of a Nigel Slater Vanilla cheesecake with damsons recipe from The Guardian online, and a Nigella one in Express for cherry cheesecake, I basically used up a load of leftover milk products without much regard for quantity.
The base I had enough fairly traditional digestive biscuits and butter available: 125g crushed digestive biscuits and 75g melted butter mixed together, pressed into the lined base of a 20cm springform tin, and refrigerated while I made the topping.
Here's where I started to scour the back of the fridge and pray.
I had a full 300g tub of Philadelphia, so I beat that together with the zest of a lemon and 60g icing sugar. tasted good, but not nearly enough, and a bit sweet at that stage.
I added, VERY approximately, 50ml each of double cream and sour cream, and a good heaped tablespoon of 0% fat Greek yoghurt. I also squeezed in a bit of lemon juice and added nearly a teaspoon of vanilla extract and carried on beating till all was combined. Once the cheese/cream/yoghurt was all combined, I spread it over the biscuit base, put a piece of clingfilm over the top, and put it back in the fridge overnight. The clingfilm idea came from the Nigel Slater recipe. I guess it stops it drying out in the fridge.
I'll try and emulate this again because the sour cream and yoghurt made the cheesecake bit lovely and clean tasting and not at all cloying, which I find can sometimes be a problem for me. I also thought that using the 0% fat yoghurt might generally be a good way to go to bulk this out and make it lighter - although I think I'd always mix it with full fat Philly, because the reduced fat is just not as good in cheesecake. I mean, what's the point (and there's always the Greek yoghurt if you're feeling in need of virtue).
What I can tell you the recipe for, though, is the blackcurrant jamminess that I topped it off with.
We had a bag of blackcurrants in the freezer from the garden, but you can buy frozen in the supermarket. It was very easy and quick - almost too quick because I'd hoped for a softer set than I got, but it was still fine for topping off the cheesecake.
Easy Blackcurrant Jam
500g frozen blackcurrants
500g preserving sugar
juice of half a lemon
Place these 3 ingredients in a large pan (remember, the mixture will bubble up during cooking), with about 100ml of water and stir over a gentle heat till all the sugar is dissolved.
Bring the contents of the pan up to the boil, then boil it hard for 5 minutes.
Leave it to cool for 5 minutes or so in the pan, then decant to a sterilised jar or 2, or, if you're using it for a cheesecake, or for breakfast (say) leave it to cool in a bowl.
The sharpness of the jam will contrast beautifully with a creamy, lemony cheesecake: unmould the cheesecake, carefully peel off the greaseproof paper from the base and place on the dish you are going to serve it on. Carefully blob & spread over the jam and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
Even better, there should be plenty of jam left over. Just the thing to go on some freshly baked bread.
This month's Forever Nigella is hosted on the lovely Botanical Baker blog , and originates with Sarah at Maison Cupcake . It's the monthly blog event which encourages you to release your inner domestic goddess and bake, make or cook absolutely anything from any of Nigella’s books. This month's theme is Nostalgia, and I'm entering the cheesecake for it's retro nostalgic appeal as it's what cheesecake meant to me before I'd ever set eyes (or teeth) on any of those newfangled baked cheesecakes...