If there’s one fruit I’ve really gone crazy for this year, it’s cherries.
They’ve never really been my favourite, and I one point I wouldn’t touch them, but this year I just can’t get enough. It may well have something to do with the fact that when I was in Romania cherry trees were in abundance, and the fruits they produced were the sweetest, juiciest cherries I have ever tasted.
My host in my first week in Romania, Christina, gave me a jar of her homemade cherry jam to bring home with me. I somehow managed to look after it for 3 more weeks of travelling around, and decided that I would save it for something special – and really, what could be more special than cheesecake?
Cheesecake is one of my favourite desserts, both to bake and to eat, and cherry cheesecake is a classic flavour combination.
I based my cheesecake on this recipe from BBC Good Food, but rather than making a cherry puree I used my fab cherry jam. It’s nothing like a ‘jam’ you would buy here, it’s more like whole cherries in a thick sort of syrup, and it’s not as sweet as a jam either – the downside of this is you can, and I do, eat it by the spoonful…
Instead of a creme fraiche topping I used more cream cheese, beaten with a little sugar, and used fresh cherries to decorate. The jam swirled into the cheesecake mixture created wonderful little fruity bursts in each bite, and the texture was, for me, spot on.
If you want to make this, I would recommend either buying the absolute best jam you can find, or making your own, otherwise I think it would end up being too sweet. I hope that doesn’t put you off though, because it really was delicious!
Cherry cheesecake (adapted from BBC Good Food)
For the base:
- 140g digestive biscuits
- 35g butter, melted
For the filling:
- 500g medium fat cream cheese
- 140g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- zest and juice of a lemon
- 100ml low fat creme fraiche
- 100g cherry jam
For the topping:
- 100g medium fat cream cheese
- 15g icing sugar
- 8-10 cherries, halved and stoned
To make the base, blitz the biscuits in a food processor to form fine crumbs, then with the mixer running pour in the melted butter. Press the biscuit crumbs down into the base of an 8″ springform tin, and bake for about 10 minutes at 170 degrees, until just starting to crisp.
While the base is cooling, make the cheesecake filling. Beat the cream cheese and caster sugar together until smooth, then add the eggs, vanilla, cornflour, lemon zest and juice and beat again. Finally, add the creme fraiche, beat and pour over the cooled base.
Bake the cheesecake with a tray of hot water on the shelf below, for 10 minutes at 170 degrees, then reduce the heat to 110 degrees and bake for a further hour – the cheesecake should be set but still wobble. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge overnight.
For the topping, beat the icing sugar into the cream cheese and spread over the cheesecake. Arrange the halved cherries around the edge to decorate.