Every year, my friends and I get together for a “fake Christmas”. It’s always a merry affair with everyone bringing a dish, a Christmas playlist pumping, copious amounts of red wine and of course a good old game of Charades.
I’m usually on pudding duty and having made a yule log the passed few years, this year I wanted to try something a little different. New York cheesecake is always a favourite amongst our friends and so I decided to put a festive twist on my classic recipe. I replaced my usual digestive base with ginger nuts, added some brandy soaked sultanas, a hint of clove and topped each slice with chunk of florentine.
75g sultanas, soaked for at least an hour in 30g brandy
250g ginger nuts
135g butter, melted
850g Philadelphia full-fat cream cheese
250g caster sugar
20g plain flour
1/8 tsp of ground cloves
1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract)
3 medium eggs
1 egg yolk
150 ml double cream
1 tblsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to fan 160C. Lightly grease and line the base of a 9″ deep loose bottom tin.
Blitz up the ginger nuts in a food processor until you achieve a fine crumb. Stir in the melted butter before evenly pressing the biscuit mix into the base of the tin.
Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the base from the oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven up to 200C.
Meanwhile, place the cream cheese and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add them to the bowl along with the finally grated zest of 1 lemon.
With the mixer on a medium speed, beat the ingredients together until just combined. Add the flour and ground cloves and mix to combine.
Sour the cream with the juice of the lemon and leave to stand for a moment.
Lightly beat the eggs with the yolk and gradually add them to the cream cheese mix.
Add the soured cream and lightly mix.
Blitz the brandy soaked sultanas in a small food processor until they are fairly finely chopped.
Finally add them a spoonful at a time to the mixture and gently fold them through.
Pour the mix into the prepared tin and place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 10 minutes at 200C before turning the oven down to 90C and cooking for a further 50 minutes to an hour.
The cheesecake is done once it is lightly coloured and the centre has a slight wobble.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for at least an hour before transferring it to the fridge and allowing it to set overnight.
To decorate, whisk 150g double cream with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar until it reaches stiff peaks. Pipe rosettes around the edge of the cheesecake and place half a florentine on top.