Sourcing ingredients: Total preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes to prepare, 3 hours to overnight to set
The best thing about Christmas time is the abundance of cherries. They are in every supermarket, every farmers’ market, on the street. Young people even come into the office and sell cherries to me, right at my desk. This appeals to a) my laziness and b) my nature of buying things on impulse.
And while we may still be several weeks away from cherry eating, you are just a supermarket trip away from Nigella’s failproof Cherry Cheesecake.
I was a bit worried when I read I needed to find some black cherry spread (eg, St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit)… OK Nigella, you fancy pants fancy face. So, I put everything on the shopping list and sent Husband to the shop so I didn’t have to deal with it. He found it harder to find the digestive biscuits than he did the black cherry spread, complete with foreign words. Colour me surprised.
The first thing you do with this cheesecake is make the base. Husband was pleased because I used the food processor he bought me for my birthday. What a guy!*
I processed the biscuits until they were crumbs, then added the butter in and watched it form into a glob of butter and biscuits.
Nigella says to press the mixture into a 20cm baking tin. I’m not really one for measuring cake tins. I own a few. I use whatever one I have. I call it ‘improvising’. I’m quite talented.
I pressed, just like Nigella said. I even greased the tin with butter, because last time I made a cheesecake the base stuck to the tin. I wasn’t having that happen again.
I used my electric beater (it beats things electronically) to mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice together. It took just a couple of minutes to become smooth. Then it took another couple of minutes to whip the double cream, which you can conveniently buy from New World now – thanks Twitter friends!
Then I had to fold the cream in with the cream cheese mixture. As I’ve mentioned before, I loathe folding. It doesn’t matter what kind of folding it is – clothes, ingredients, poker hands – I’m terrible at all of them. I must say though, these two particular substances were easier to fold than most. My delicate folding motion didn’t turn into furious mixing even one time.
When it came to spooning the filling on to the biscuit base, I realised that because my cake tin was quite a bit larger than what she calls for, my cheesecake was not going to be quite as plump as Nigella’s. It was going to be slim fit, just like shirts for skinny men.
Because I am organised and a self-titled domestic goddess, I was able to keep the cheesecake in the fridge for a whole 24 hours. If you are unorganised and just a regular human you can chill it in the fridge for as little as three.
When it came time to present the cheesecake for dessert, I sprung it out of the tin and onto a plate. I then tried to shimmy it off the the base of the tin. It did not want to shimmy.
It dawned on me that since the base was just made of biscuits and butter, of course the butter I used to grease the tin with was just going to blend in with the base and stick. What an amateur.
Like a true professional, I ignored the problem. Out came the St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit. I emptied the jar out onto the cheesecake and used the back of a spoon to spread it.
I served the thing on a plate with the base still attached. No one knew, until I tried to cut it up. I ended up eating a lot of cheesecake off my hands. My mum helpfully pointed out that I should have used baking paper. Thanks mum.
Well Nigella, you delivered again. The cheesecake was rich and smooth, but also quite refreshing. Five of us got through half of the cheesecake that night. Husband and I scoffed the rest the following night. Oops.