Wednesday, 19 June 2013

HONEYDEW CHEESECAKE

I’m probably in a minority here but cheesecake is probably my least favourite dessert. I find it claggy, way too rich and don’t even get me started on the soggy digestive biscuit base. Occasionally though I can enjoy a super fresh or citrusy one, like mango or passion fruit. I wanted to make my own along these lines and turned the freshest of all fruits, and my favourite; melon. Melon seems completely neglected in baking, and I understand it’s watery and the flavour is often too subtle, but here I intensify the flavour of the flesh and use it so perk up and cut through the rich cream cheese. For the base I’ve used ginger biscuits, not just because I can’t stomach digestive, but the contrast between the sweet, cool melon and the heat of the base is really interesting. This cheesecake makes me like cheesecake.
250g ginger nut biscuits
100g butter
1 small ripe honeydew melon
50g sugar
600g soft cheese
200ml double cream
50g icing sugar
Begin by either blitzing or bashing up the ginger biscuits to breadcrumbs size. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then tip in the smashed biscuits and stir. Pour into a 23cm springform cake tin and press down with your fist to create a sturdy base. Chill for 30 minutes.

Cut the melon in half, place one half in the fridge and remove the seeds of the other. Scoop out the flesh into a blender, or a container suitable to hand blend in. Blitz to a thick liquid and then pour into a saucepan and add the sugar. Bring to boil and reduce for a couple of minutes until syrupy. At this point tip a small amount of the melon syrup into a ramekin. This will be used for the topping later. Return to remaining syrup to the heat and continue to boil until it reaches a thick, sweet syrup. Take off the heat and leave to cool. At this point you can refrigerate the little ramekin of syrup for later use.
Beat the soft cheese in a large bowl until smooth and creamy then add the double cream. Beat, with the icing sugar, until the mixture reaches a thick custard consistency. Pour in the thick melon syrup and stir well until the cheese cake mixture is tinted with yellow and has a mellow and fresh sweetness.

Pour this mixture onto the cooled base and smooth out as evenly as you can. Refrigerate for a good few hours, or ideally overnight.
Once set, take out of the fridge and leave to warm a little for about half hour. Release the cake from the spring form tin and attempt to slide it onto a plate. Take a melon baler to remaining half of melon, and pile the little balls of flesh on top of the cheesecake. Pour over the cold melon syrup, allowing some to run over the sides.

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