Vanilla Cheesecake


The love of eating

Cheesecake is a favourite of my cousin, Carlo. We would frequently have family parties in our back garden each Summer. The first thing my Mum bought for the parties was a Sara Lee raspberry cheesecake, “For my Carlo” she would say. Planning the rest of the food was secondary.

This is the best, failsafe recipe, so there is no need to go out a buy one.

Vanilla Cheesecake

Serves 8
255g (9oz) digestive biscuits * 115g (4oz) butter, melted * 3 tbsp caster sugar * 1 vanilla pod * 1 tsp vanilla essence * 650g (1½lb) cream cheese * 115g (4oz) icing sugar * 280ml (9 floz) double cream * 115g (4oz) raspberries, to serve

Grease and line a 23cm/9 inch spring-form tin with greaseproof paper. Blitz the digestive biscuits in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl, then pour over the melted butter and caster sugar. Mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated. Tip them into the prepared tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to set firmly.

Remove the vanilla seeds from their pod by slicing the pod in half lengthways and scraping out the seeds with the back of a kitchen knife. Place the soft cheese, icing sugar, vanilla seeds and vanilla essence in a bowl, then beat until smooth. Tip in the double cream and continue beating until the mixture is completely combined. Spoon it onto the biscuit base, working from the edges inwards and making sure that there are no air bubbles. Smooth the top of the cheesecake down with the back of a dessert spoon or spatula. Cover in clingfilm and leave to set in the fridge for 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature about 30 minutes before serving. To un-mould, place the base on top of a can, then gradually pull the sides of the tin down. Slip the cake onto a serving plate, removing the lining paper and base. Slice and serve with the raspberries.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book, FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

This recipe comes from the section TRADITIONAL PUDDINGS, a selection of the best of British cakes and desserts.