Fragrant and fresh

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Raspberries, fragrant and intensely-fresh tasting, are the most heavenly of all fruits.

These beautiful berries have a sublime, perfumed quality and are especially delicious with cream, yoghurt and soft cheeses.

The charm of this recipe is the contrast between the smooth, creamy filling and the tart-sweet-sharpness of the raspberries.

It sounds odd to be suggesting frozen raspberries when fresh ones are available, but fresh raspberries can be in short supply over Christmas and the price tends to escalate. The other plus is that frozen raspberries are available year round and this is such a summery treat midwinter.

I have used low-fat cream cheese in this cheesecake and I make no apologies. I find almost no difference in taste and texture between the full-fat cream cheese and this low-fat one. (However, I don't recommend the extra low-fat cream cheese here).

The light cream cheese has 40% less fat than the full-fat variety. However, the choice is yours; both varieties work well.

Unbaked cheesecakes were a feature of the 1970s dessert trolley. I remember them as overly sweet and somewhat cloying. The sharpness inherent in the raspberries gives this one a balanced simplicity, which I love.

At this busy time of the year this is such a great recipe to have on hand. The cheesecake looks so pretty and it's so quick and very easy to make, really it is just assembled. It is a do-ahead recipe and you need to allow a little time for each layer to set. But the time that you are involved is minimal.

 

PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Raspberry cheesecake 

Cuts into 12-16 slices

Base

Ingredients
140g Digestive biscuits

70g ground almond
60g butter, melted
½ tsp quality almond essence(optional)

Filling

750g (3 pottles) light cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
80g icing sugar
2 Tbsp Cointreau, or other orange-based liqueur or orange juice


Raspberry jelly

500g raspberries, fresh or frozen, thawed if frozen
zest of one lemon
4 Tbsp lemon juice
60g caster sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice (second measure)
1 Tbsp gelatine

Method

Line the base of a 23cm round springform tin with non-stick baking paper.

Base

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until finely chopped, add the ground almonds, melted butter and the almond essence. Process again until thoroughly mixed. Press this mixture evenly over base of the cake tin. Chill.

Filling

Give the food processor a quick wash and dry. Combine cream cheese and icing sugar and process until well combined and smooth. Add the orange liqueur or juice and process briefly to mix. Pour over the biscuit crumb base and smooth the top evenly with the back of a spoon. Cover with cling film and chill.

Raspberry jelly

Place the berries, lemon zest, 4 Tbsp of lemon juice and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Then cook, stirring occasionally until the raspberries have softened slightly and released their juices, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile combine the second measure of lemon juice and gelatine in a small bowl and leave to stand for about four minutes until the gelatine has softened. Gently stir this into the hot raspberries making sure the gelatine is completely dissolved. Cover and set side in the fridge to cool until almost set. When it has really thickened and is on the verge of setting, pour or spoon onto the cream cheese filling. Cover and refrigerate until the jelly is firm and completely set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve

Release the sides of the springform tin, and slide the cheesecake from the base onto a flat serving platter.

Scatter with rose petals or little viola flowers and serve.

Will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days

 

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