A fantastic dessert for the summer which with a little thought about decoration can really impress your friends. It is incredibly easy and can be made the day before. Fresh, sweet seasonal strawberries with a tangy yet creamy filling sitting on a thin crisp biscuit base makes for the perfect cheesecake. Or ..... go to town, get your cutters out and have fun with fresh colourful berries (the flowers are cut outs from melton) with lime zest middles !
You will need a 9 inch (23 cm) loose bottomed springform tin base lined with greaseproof paper or remove the loose base and replace it with a thin cake board of the same size. Makes for easy release and professional presentation.
Start by making the base. Crush the biscuits in a freezer bag using a rolling pin then place in a small saucepan containing the butter that has been melted. Add the star anise, mix well then place into the base of the cake tin, pressing down with the back of a spoon. Chill for about an hour.
Put the gelatine leaves in a jug of cold water and leave to soak for at least ten minutes.
To make the lemon curd. Place all the ingredients into a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water and whisk all the time until the mixture has thickened.
Whilst the lemon curd is still warm drop the gelatine leaves in and give a good mix to make sure it dissolves.
In a separate bowl whisk the mascarpone cheese with the icing sugar then gradually add the milk plus the lemon juice and zest. Finally whisk in the lemon curd/gelatine mix.
NB – if you use bought lemon curd you will need to heat it gently in a saucepan before adding the gelatine. Do not allow it to boil.
Take the chilled base from the freezer and use strawberry halves to line the sides of the tin. I use a strip of acetate to line the tin first. If you haven’t got this a strip of baking parchment will work. Once the strawberry halves are in place pour over the cheese and lemon mix. Level the top then place into the fridge and leave to set for at least three hours but preferably overnight.
When ready to finish and decorate take the half pint of made up and pre-set lemon jelly and pop it into the microwave in just 10 second bursts until it turns back to liquid but is just tepid in temperature. It must not be hot.
Take the set cheesecake from the fridge and carefully pour over a thin layer of jelly over the top of the surface so that it just covers. This jelly will set fairly quickly as it touches the chilled cheesecake. Decorate with a few fresh strawberries or selection of fresh fruits, finely grated lemon zests and a dusting of icing sugar.
TIP A cake board fitted into the bottom of the cake tin (omitting the metal base) will give you a perfect easy-out cheesecake.
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