Most kids if you gave them a choice between fruits and a packet of sweets, it’s inevitable that the vast majority will pick the sweets, wide-eyed and full of glee. However, given the choice between fruits of varied colours and origins, from peaches to grapes I pretty much doubt they’d give the citrus fruits the time of day. And if by any chance they would, tasting them would quickly turn their excitement into regret. But for some reason, when I was younger instead of grabbing an apple or orange like a normal kid I’d be tucking into a lemon. Maybe I was craving vitamin C or maybe it was an inner yearning to oppose “social norms,” only the Lord knows (lol). As I aged, my love for extremely sour foods waned-keeping well clear of them except for the occasional sherbet from the tuck shop.
A couple years ago, and that all changed, because I realised how effective adding sour/acidic notes to my dishes could be. It was as if, they enlivened my gustatory perception making me more receptive to the tastes that would follow, be it sweet, unami or otherwise. It included adding a touch of vinegar to my fried eggs, a squeeze of lemon to my ragu bolognese and of course citrus cheesecakes. Very few people can say no to a good cheesecake and they are enjoyed by both children and adults alike. But why? Because they too epitomise the perfect balance between acidity and sweet that delights our palate.
As you’ve probably guessed from my posts, I’d eat pretty much anything but I do have a couple favourite cheesecakes. They include a luxurious combination of lemon and white chocolate as well as the classic American key lime cheesecake. So as a homage to my kid-self here’s how to make them:
Lemon and White Chocolate cheesecake
250g digestive biscuits, crushed
3-4 tablespoons butter, melted
120g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
16 ounces full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
100g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
White chocolate shavings/curls for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
In a bowl, stir the crushed biscuits and melted butter together. Put mixture in the lined 8-9 inch pan and gently press with your fingers until crumbs form an even layer. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
Reduce oven temperature to 300F/150C.
In a medium heat-proof bowl, combine the white chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Melt in the microwave in 20 second-intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted. Alternatively, set the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice and beat until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Make sure you taste throughout and add additional lemon juice/chocolate if desired.
Pour batter over the cooled crust and spread evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes. The center of the cake should be slightly wobbly when it’s taken out of the oven. Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for 4 hours (or, preferably, overnight) until completely set.
Slice one lemon into thin semi-circles and arrange them into the form of a spiral at the center and then sprinkle around the circumference with white chocolate shavings.
Key Lime Cheesecake
3⁄4 cup digestive biscuits
3 tbsp butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8oz whipped cream
1⁄3cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest
1⁄3cup sweetened condensed milk
Melt the butter in a small microwavable bowl. Stir the crushed biscuits and melted butter together in a separate bowl. Put the mixture into a lined 8-9 inch pan and gently press with your fingers until crumbs form an even layer. Place the base into the fridge for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, whipped cream, lime juice, zest, and the condensed milk until well-combined. Make sure you taste throughout and add additional lime juice if desired.
Remove the base from the fridge and on top of it spoon the filling evenly. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 5 hours before serving. When set, drizzle the top with melted milk chocolate and arrange slices of lime in a spiral pattern at the center.
***Another twist you could do is to add a teaspoon of ground ginger to the crushed biscuits and melted butter to add another taste element to it. Very nice, trust me 🙂
Lemon and white chocolate cheesecake with slices of lemon and white chocolate shavings for decoration
Absolutely delicious and easy to do. So, try them out guys and let me know what you think!