Thursday, 7 May 2015

Rhubarb and Custard Cheesecake

Rhubarb is one of my very favourite ingredients, so when it is in season I try to use it as much as I can. Here I've contorted the familiar rhubarb and custard pairing into a diabolically decadent (and not to mention delicious) cheesecake. Setting with gelatin gives the cheesecake a silky smooth texture, which bounces beautifully off of the spikey, yet still sweet rhubarb and using ginger nuts in the base brings just the merest hint of spice to the party. And what a party it is!

Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 30 Mins (For the rhubarb)
Setting time: At least 6 Hours
400g Rhubarb
A good handful of Caster Sugar
The juice of 1 Lemon
200g Ginger Nut Biscuits
100g Unsalted Butter (Melted)
400g Cream Cheese
350g Custard
1/2tsp Vanilla Paste
6 Sheets Leaf Gelatin
100ml Boiling Water

The first job is to cook the rhubarb, so preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Chop the rhubarb up into little batons, then mix together with the sugar and lemon juice. Tip into a large ovenproof dish, evenly space across the base, then cover with foil. Place in the centre of the oven for around 30 minutes, until the rhubarb is blushing pink with just a tinge of green and soft to the touch. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, before tipping the rhubarb (juice and all) into a heatproof container. Once cool cover completely and set to one side until you are ready to make the cheesecake.

Speaking of which, line the base of a deep 20cm cake tin with baking paper. Pulverise the biscuits to fine crumbs, then mix through the melted butter. Tip into your prepared tin, then press evenly to the edges. In a fresh bowl beat the cheese until smooth, then mix through the custard and vanilla. Soak 4 sheets of gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes (you can use 3 if you want a softer set), then drain and place in a small dish. Add 1.5tbsp of boiling water, mix to dissolve, then tip into you cheese mixture. Mix until smooth then spoon into your tin, over the biscuit base. Even to the edges, then place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

Tip the cooled rhubarb into a large bowl. Take the last two sheets of rhubarb, soak again in cold water for five minutes, before draining and placing in a dish with 100ml of boiling water. Mix to dissolve, then add the rhubarb (juice and all again!) and mix to combine. Spoon evenly over the semi-set cheesecake mixture and return to the fridge for at least another 4.5-5 hours, ideally overnight.

Once set take the cheesecake out of the fridge, run a flat bladed knife around the edge, then carefully remove from the tin. All done!

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