I’m still without a kitchen! It’s been four months and we’re going stir-crazy. I didn’t realise how much we use (and need) the oven. The thing that really gets me is not being able to bake cakes. It’s my favourite thing to do and it’s also therapeutic when you’re feeling a bit low.
There’s something about running your finger around the bowl and licking the cake mix off your fingers that just feels so good. Then there’s the delicious sweet smell of sponge rising and wafting through the house and fresh lemon zest being grated for lemon flavoured icing… Mmm.
So today I found myself asking… What can you bake without an oven…? The answer is cheesecake. Yummy yummy cheesecake. Here’s my recipe:
- 2 punnets of strawberries (600g)
- 1 large pot of Philadelphia/cream cheese (250g)
- 1 small pot of whipping cream (150ml)
- 1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of icing sugar
- 1/3 of a packet of butter (100g)
- 1/2 of a large packet of digestive biscuits (200g)
- Caster sugar (to taste)
- Place half the packet of biscuits into a freezer bag and using a rolling-pin, break the biscuits down into fine crumbs. (Ensure all the biscuits are broken down and no lumps remain before the next step)
- Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan and when fully melted, pour in the biscuit crumbs.
- Stir the crumbs into the butter thoroughly until the crumbs begin to stick together. They don’t need to be too wet and sticky, but if the biscuit looks very dry and doesn’t mould together just move the biscuit to one side in the saucepan and take the biscuit side off the heat, while melting a little more butter on the other side of the saucepan over the heat.
- Then transfer the biscuit and butter mixture into a baking tin or presentation dish and pat it down firmly using a wooden spoon.
- Place the dish in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
Cream Cheese & Strawberries
- Once the base has set you can begin preparing the cream cheese and strawberries.
- Start by whisking your whipping cream in a mixing bowl until its firm.
- Then add in the whole tub of Philadelphia cheese and the icing sugar to taste – it shouldn’t be too sweet.
- Fold the cheese and icing sugar into the cream. (Imagine you are drawing a figure of 8 in the mixing bowl). Don’t be tempted to stir it in too fast or you’ll lose the air created from whipping up the cream.
- If you’re happy with the taste of the mixture you can now spread the cream cheese evenly onto the biscuit base.
- Pop the cake back in the fridge while you prepare the strawberries for the decoration.
- Wash your strawberries carefully, ensuring not to bruise or bump them, and then cut into slices. You’re going to need to use the flat strawberry slices to decorate the cake and the rounded ends of the strawberries to form the coulis, so separate these into two piles as you slice.
- Finally using the flat strawberry slices, cover the top of the cream cheese to decorate.
- Pop all the leftover strawberries in a saucepan and heat gently until the fruit starts to reduce into a liquid.
- Add caster sugar to the mix to taste, spooning in a tablespoon at a time and stirring until it’s fully dissolved.
- If you need to remove any lumps use an electric hand blender to smooth the coulis.
- Wait for the coulis to cool down and then it’s ready to serve alongside the cheesecake.