I love cooking but seldom make my desserts from scratch, as I tend to focus my attention on slaving over an impressive main course followed by fresh fruits or shop bought ice cream, cheese and wine for afters. I make the odd fruit crumble and custard as a summer treat for the children but I’ve never made a cheesecake before. I’m impressed by how surprisingly quick and easy it is to make now that I know how, and it’s something I will be making at every occasion possible because the toppings and ingredients can be anything you like. As I’m currently hooked on peanut butter and bananas I decided to use them to top my cheesecake.
To start with I buttered a small ceramic oven dish which I normally use to make my lasagne, as I didn’t have a cake tin with a removable base. You can also use baking paper to line the base making it easier to remove the cheesecake more precisely but I prefer the homemade look. I used 200g of digestive biscuits for my base, but you can experiment with whatever you like so long as it’s crunchy, gingernuts, hob nobs or chocolate digestives if you have a rather sweet tooth. I used my food processor to lightly blast my biscuits into chunky crumbs, before tipping them into a mixing bowl and pouring in 100g of melted butter to help the biscuit crumbs to bind together.
The butter makes the biscuit slightly sticky which is perfect for spooning into the oven dish or tin. I then used the back of a spoon to push the biscuit and butter down into the corners and flatten and compact it into a hard base so that when the creamy cheesecake topping goes on top it won’t sink in and go soggy. Once you’re happy with the base place it in the fridge to harden into place whilst making the topping. Into my food processor I placed 600g of soft cheese for which I used Philadelphia, along with a small splash of vanilla extract, 100g of icing sugar and 300ml of double cream. After a minute of blitzing in the processor the mixture becomes thick and smooth and can be poured over the biscuit base and returned to the fridge to set.
I wanted to use my peanut butter and banana as a decorative topping rather than a filling so that I could serve my cheesecake to my family who hadn’t had peanut butter before and might not like it. This way they could scoop it off of the top if it wasn’t for them, and I could add it all to my plate! But if you’d like to marble your cheesecake with peanut butter or fresh fruits then add it to the mixture before pouring it over the base. It’s best to leave the cheesecake in the fridge overnight to set, although you can speed it up by putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours, just remember to leave it out at room temperature a few hours before serving. To finish my cheesecake before serving I sliced a banana and layered it over the top of the cream cheese, with a few dollops of peanut butter for good measure and it was absolutely mouthwatering!
The biscuit base was dense and crumbly with softly whipped sweet cream cheese, a hint of vanilla, smooth bananas and crunchy peanut butter and went down a treat with all of my family. They’ve now requested a chocolate and mint cheesecake for next Sunday and my daughter would like a summer berry cheesecake ‘at my earliest convenience’ how adorable. The possibility for toppings are endless and the taste out of this world, now that I know how quick and easy it is to make it will certainly replace shop bought desserts!