This year, we have been spectacularly spoiled with blackberry harvests in the garden despite my best efforts to cut the rapidly invading brambles back as much as I could earlier in the year. It doesn’t feel as though we had anywhere near as many last year or maybe I just wasn’t interested in using them. On harvesting this time around I even came across this fluorescent green spider!
So to make the most of our urban garden produce, I gave this recipe a go that I came across in Stylist magazine, adapted from a Ruby Tandoh cookbook.
This recipe makes a cheesecake for approximately 8-10 people, using a 20cm round loose-bottomed tin
Ingredients – base
- 150g digestive biscuits
- 75g unsalted butter
Ingredients – blackberry swirl
- 150g blackberries
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1tsp cornflour (optional)
Ingredients – filling
- 500g ricotta cheese
- 2tbsp cornflour
- 150ml double cream
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 180c / 160c fan / gas mark 4 (I LOVE when recipes list the fan temperatures since we inherited a fan only oven, when recipes don’t list the fan setting it’s always a guessing game!)
2) Crush the biscuits in a food processor or with a rolling pin until they resemble a sandy consistency. Melt the butter over a low heat and then mix with the crushed biscuits. I should probably mention at this point that I didn’t have unsalted butter so had to make do with salted butter. The end result was ok since the salted base contrasted nicely with the rich and creamy filling but I’d probably use unsalted butter next time! The idea of the mixture is that it should stick together when pressed into the base of your tin so if in doubt use a little more melted butter, but beware too much which may result in a soggy finish.
3) Spread the biscuit mixture into the base of the tin and press down evenly. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove, leaving to cool. If you do use more butter in step 2) above, you may need to bake for slightly longer to achieve the right base texture. Lower the oven temperature to 120c / fan 100c.
4) Heat the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice over a low heat until the blackberries are soft. Crush the berries using the back of a fork and if there is a lot of juice as I found, add some cornflour and stir in over a low heat until the mixture has thickened. Pop to one side to cool.
5) Beat the ricotta and cornflour together in a large bowl until you have a smooth mixture, then add the cream mixing it in well. Next, add the sugar and mix, followed by the eggs one at a time, then the yolk, finally the lemon zest and vanilla essence. Here I would a touch more vanilla and probably another half a lemon zest since I love lemony flavours and felt that the zest of 1 lemon was swallowed by the richness of the actual cheesecake. Combine thoroughly.
6) Pour the filling onto the biscuit base ensuring it’s evenly spread before spooning in dollops of the blackberry mixture and swirling with a spoon. I really didn’t get the hang of this and my pre-baked cheesecake looked pretty horrendous and not at all artistic as you can see but in the end it turned out fine. Baked for approximately 2 hours until the cheesecake is solid with only a small wobble in the centre. The blackberry should look gooey and dark.
7) Cool the cheesecake completely in the tin before turning out and then chill in the fridge.
I have to say as cheesecakes go, this one was relatively straightforward to make and whilst the ricotta cheese and double cream was a rich combination, the blackberry did contrast nicely. I would possibly consider making a blackberry compote next time as an optional addition. Overall though it was a great success and didn’t put up much fight when it came with me to the office 😉