Saturday Elevenses: Nigella-inspired Chocolate and Lime Cheesecake

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Chocolate and Lime Cheesecake (c) Nigella Lawson

When we were kids and stayed at our dad’s, every Friday night we would have fish, chips and orange tango (back when the cans has real ringpulls and the can was skinned with orange slices). Every Saturday morning we would bake ourselves a treat – invariably rockcakes – which we would eat after a ploughman-style lunch of cheeses and bread.

Consequently, I have a lifelong affection for all these foodgroups, and baking on a Saturday morning strikes me as a perfect way to know that the weekend’s a weekend.

Thie Saturday I’ll be revisiting this fantastic chocolate and lime cheesecake, truffled on Nigella Lawson‘s unsurprisingly unctuous website and a hit as my contribution to a four-course new year’s meal. A good hit of chocolate, cut through with tangy lime. I completed it with a good sprinkle of Artisan du Chocolat’s luxury hot chocolate mix (when I say luxury, amd talking chocolate shavings – yum!)

You will need:

  • 1.5 packets (200g ) of Choc Chip Maryland cookies (or to be true to Nigella, the Double Choc Maryland cookies, in the purple packet)
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2.5 tubs (750g ) 50/50 Phildelphia cream cheese and Quark (or purely cream cheese if you’re really going for it)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 yolks
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 20-21cm springform cake tin (or loose-bottom tin)
  • kitchen foil
  • roasting tray which cake tin can sit in

Whipping it up (Nigella’s method with a bit of mine thrown in for good measure):

  1. Obsessively wrap your cake tin with foil as you will be cooking it in a tray of water and cheesecake and water don’t mix (doesn’t have to be springform, though this does make things easier.) Line the bottom of the springform tin with baking parchment,
  2. Bash or process the biscuits to crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Press the biscuit and butter mix into the tin with your hand or the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set, and preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and Quark (or pure cream cheese) gently until smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then the lime juice. Put a full kettle on – this is for the cooking stage, not a cuppa.
  4. Pour the cream cheese filling onto the chilled biscuit base, place the tin in a roasting tray and pour hot water from the recently-boiled kettle around the foil-wrapped cheesecake to come about halfway up the sides of the springform; doesn;t need to be to the brim.
  5. Transfer it as steadily as you can to the oven and cook for 1 hour or so, checking after 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so. You want to be able to detect, below the skin, the slightest, sexiest hint of a quiver within (Nigella, I love you).
  6. Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the springform from its water-filled tin, stand it on a rack, peel off the outer layer of foil, tear away the side bits of the first layer of foil and leave it to cool. When the cheesecake’s cooled down completely, place it in the fridge and leave it there till 20 minutes or so before you want to eat it.
  7. Transfer to the plate you’re going to serve it on (it will need to be one without a lip, or a cakestand) and unclip. Peel off the foil, but fiddle too much at your own risk – I managed to get it all off, but had to leave the parchment underneath be.
  8. Top with a sprinkle of ultra-luxe hot chocolate drink – or shave your own from a good quality bar of chocolate.
  9. It makes life easier if, when you cut it, you heat the knife and cake slicer under a very hot tap first.

Serves: 8

Also check out the London Cheesecake (I’m a sucker for anything with ‘London’ in the name!) and the superbly old-school, no-cook Cherry Cheesecake. Thank you Nigella!

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