Thursday, 5 July 2012

(Expat)riotism: Lemon Cheesecake with Blackberries

On the Fourth of July two years ago, I was on a plane, flying back home across the world. 9 hours of appreciating my international lifestyle. Last year on the Fourth I was in London with a head cold, trying to get as much sleep as possible before heading to Paris with a friend for two weeks of adventures in France. This is my third year away from America-- far from the barbecues, fireworks, and flags-- and I decided that this year I would make a gesture (however token) in support of the Independence of my nation. Something celebratory would be baked.

I believe the tradition for Flag Day is to bake a pie. A suitably American delicacy, no doubt, and one that offers endless possibilities. But I didn't bake a pie, I made a cheesecake.

A really scrumptious, lemony cheesecake, piled with tasty, tart blackberries. My first ever cheesecake.

And I think it turned out rather well.

Happy birthday, America!

Lemon Cheesecake
(for a 7" cheesecake, adapted from the "Joyful 7 Inch Creamy Cheesecake" recipe)
1 1/4 cups cookie crumbs (I used Digestive biscuits but graham crackers would also work. Or whatever cookie strikes your fancy...)
75 grams butter (5 tablespoons) melted
450 grams cream cheese (16oz)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons yoghurt
zest of one lemon (this can be omitted to make a plain vanilla cheesecake)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir the cookie crumbs into the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 7 inch spring-form pan to form the crust, going about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes at 180° C (350° F) and then remove from the oven.

For the filling, cream together the cream cheese and sugar (if it's come straight out of the fridge, the cream cheese might need to be softened first with little time in the microwave). Gradually add the rest of the ingredients, mix them thoroughly.

Pour the batter mixture into the crust, smoothing the top flat, and bake for 50-60 minutes at 165° C (325° F). The center of the cheesecake will still look pretty wobbly but that's just because it hasn't set yet. Now turn off the oven and, with the door propped open, leave the cheesecake to cool inside for another hour. Then remove it to a cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating it (still in the pan) for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When you're ready to serve it, carefully loosen and lift away the spring-form sides of the pan. Top with a heap of blackberries (or your choice of garnish!)

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