I roped Rob into the kitchen earlier in the week to help make this cheesecake. In theory, he should be able to make it by himself (the story goes, one day he was too impatient to wait for me to come home, so I text him the recipe and very detailed instructions from the gym). In reality, he was under close guidance (and reminder of the ingredients/method), and muggins here had to do the whole cooking and meringue bit.
So realistically lets call it “our cheesecake” – but I’ll let him have his moment of glory (he was too shy to have his photo taken with it!!)
The method and ingredients are very similar to the cherry and amaretto cheesecake I made a few weeks back. So much so, I’ll post the ingredients, but refer you back there for most of the method.
15 low-fat digestive biscuits
1 tablespoon low-fat spread
1 pack extra light soft cheese (250g, we used Tesco’s)
200g low fat natural yoghurt (plain, if you can find it, vanilla works too. you can use a little more or less if your pack size isn’t quite 200g)
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
Grated rind and juice of one whole lemon
Sweetener or sugar to taste (I’ve not put in a quantity as it depends on the size and freshness of the lemon, when you get to the taste stage, add little by little until you’ve got a good, tangy lemon flavour, just sweet enough that it doesn’t make you pull a face like you’re sucking lemons! Remember the meringue layer will be very sweet to balance it out.)
3 egg whites
150 g white sugar (recipes I’ve seen say you must use caster sugar. I only had granulated (which is coarser). It worked like a dream. Take that recipe books!)
– make the base and cheesecake layer as per this post, in an 8-10 inch round spring-form pan. When making the base, try and build it up the sides a little to support this tall cheesecake better.
– as it’s a bit larger than the cherry one, cook for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees C (depending on your oven). If it’s not ‘just set’ after this time, give it 5 minutes more before checking, then another 5, etc, until it’s done
– When it’s near the end of it’s cooking time, start making your meringue. I cannot be greatful enough for my stand mixer in this step – it makes it beautifully simple and no aching arms (which I recall from the last time I made meringue, as a child)
I followed Delia’s meringue method, which is simple enough in itself, but to summarise:
> start with a sparkling clean bowl and whisks. Wipe them if you need to, to ensure there is no grease
> put your 3 egg whites in the bowl, ensure there is no trace of shell or yolk
> whisk at a medium speed, upping to high after a minute, until your mixture resembles a cloud (I didn’t think I’d get this at first either, but you will! You’ll know when you’ve hit cloud texture – quite thick, foamy, doesn’t drip off the whisks and holds it’s shape)
> keep your mixture at high speed, and sprinkle in the sugar, one spoonful at time, leaving a few seconds between each
> stop when you have shiny, thick, glossy white mix, that holds itself in high peaks
– Spoon the meringue over the top of the cooked cheesecake, adding swirls and peaks if you like, before returning to the oven for 8 – 10 minutes (depending how crunchy you want your meringue on top).
I have seen recipes that tell you to cool the cheesecake in the fridge before adding the meringue. I’m not sure of the point in this, the cheesecake is only going to get baked again when you cook the meringue! You have to spread the meringue pretty quickly so it doesn’t melt into the cheesecake, but
I certainly had no problem with cooking it altogether).
– When it comes out of the oven, immediately run a knife all around the edge, ensuring you push it all the way down to the bottom. This is to loosen all the layers away from the tin, so they can shrink back slightly as they cool.
– Cool, chill, eat!
It’s not the prettiest cake I’ve ever made but boy was it yummy! If you’re a stickler for neatness, you could try spreading the meringue so it doesn’t touch the sides. It doesn’t help that I actually used a loose-bottomed pan rather than a spring form, it took all 4 of our hands to get it out of the tin in one piece!
I was very pleasantly surprised with first attempt at making meringue – not to blow my own trumpet but it was amazing! Crunchy on the top and soft in the middle (if you wanted it more crunchy all the way through, bake for longer, at a lower temperature). So now I’m plotting what else I could make… and with a massive glut of eggs at home (18 from costco + 12 from my boss’s chickens), now seems like as good a time as any. Watch this space!