After seriously considering Mr K’s suggestion to get a new OH after the incident last weekend, I have decided to give the old one another chance. At this very moment he is constructing a new diddy plastic greenhouse and dismantling the vandalised one. Off he skipped with a smile on his face and a hammer in his hand.
To reward him for his efforts I thought I would make my signature pudding, ie my only pudding, a cheesecake. It is from the wonderful The Hungry Student Vegetarian Cookbook by Charlotte Pike. We are neither students nor vegetarians, but we are often hungry and this recipe always works out well. You could call it foolproof. It is also easy to make and delicious. Perfect. You can customise to taste, add other flavourings, arrange fruit artfully on the top or even throughout, as is your wont. It is unlikely that any of these creative adaptions will happen in this house, but stranger things have happened. As usual an approximation of Ms Pike’s instructions are in normal font, my interpretations are in italic.
Lemon No-Bake Cheesecake
Lightly grease a 20cm springform cake tin
I rummaged in the “cooking ephemeral that seldom gets used” cupboard and found that I did indeed have a 20cm springform cake tin. A Christmas miracle in itself. It was a bit cobwebby, so I gave it a good wash. I then attempted to put it back together. The bottom kept falling out. I must be doing something wrong. Time passes. It must be broken. OH walks past with a sledgehammer ” the tin ring is upside down”. Doh! Grease the tin. Add butter to shopping list.
Place twelve digestives in plastic bag and smash to crumbs with a rolling-pin and transfer into a bowl.
As thirteen is our lucky number and we like a nice thick base I chucked in another one for good luck. You can’t be mean with cheesecake. Check whether Stealth Postie has been yet. OH asks if I know where the pile driver is.
Melt 80g of butter, add to crumb and mix, pour into cake tin and flatten down evenly.
To take into account the extra biscuit I weighed out 87g, perhaps a little bit too much ….. Mixed it all together and began to flatten with spoon but decided fingers might be better. Should have put an apron on before I started. Had a little hoppy dance to Earth Wind and Fire on the radio, perhaps it was more of an enthusiastic sway. OH bangs on kitchen door gesturing to greenhouse cover he left inside. He says I am his assistant. The word “lovely” was never mentioned.
In a large bowl mix 400g of sweetened condensed milk and 225g full fat cream cheese.
The cream cheese comes in pots of 280g and as space in the fridge is at a premium at the moment I bunged the lot in, mixing it with a tin of disgustingly sweetened condensed milk. I never said this was a healthy recipe. OH taps on window with his face pressed against a wire shelf. *sigh* Another dash to see if postie is on the way, as we have box of Lindor for her.
In another bowl whisk 300ml of double cream until thick and it can be lifted into peaks.
When I gave OH the shopping list I asked him to get 300g of cream. This is a mistake I have made before. Many years ago I had a holiday job in a grocers shop and I served someone cream in grams rather than millilitres. She returned later and complained. Unfortunately, for her, the person she grumbled at was my mum, who worked in the same shop. Out of interest I have just investigated and 300ml of cream weighs 292g. Obviously a catastrophic mistake. It is highly likely that in the future I will make the same error again. It is always best to know the enemy. OH, a little bewildered by this anomaly, bought 600ml just to be sure. It is unlikely to go to waste.
I whipped the cream, with a little extra for luck, until it was thick and could be lifted into peaks. I can obey the rules sometimes. Almost. Definitely should have worn an apron.
Add the cream to the cheese/milk mix and stir in gently.
Gentle, that’s my second name. OH pops in, grabs the whiskey bottle, takes several large gulps and head back outside without a word. Seems like its going well.
Stir in zest and juice of two unwaxed lemons.
I’m not entirely sure that the lemons are unwaxed, although the chances are that they are, and they are looking a little past the first flush of youth. Attempt a little zesting then give up. Juice the frazzled fruit and top up with some extra from a bottle. A few pips escape me, but manage to fish them all out, probably. Otherwise it can become a new tradition, whoever finds the pip gets to do the washing up or an extra brussel sprout. Also a great opportunity for a little festive Heimlich manoeuvre. More stirring. Still no postie.
Carefully spoon the mixture over the crumb base and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably over night.
More carefulness, I am surpassing myself today. The mixture, possibly as I added a little bit more of both cream and cheese, reaches right to the top of the tin. I covered it with foil and carefully placed it in the fridge. Then I began my patient wait. Or as patiently as I can muster. Don’t be tempted to look too soon. This had been confirmed by my good friend Betsy. Her big cheesecake reveal turned out to be a big lemony cheesy flood. Then to cooks perks. Licked out the bowl. It tastes wonderful. Now I wonder how is OH getting on? There is a mountain of washing up to be done ……
ps Postie didn’t turn up, greenhouse did.