As a food blogger still finding my feet, I felt a sense of achievement when Delicious Magazine printed my picture of the dairy free, blueberry & banana muffins that I made using a recipe in last month’s issue. This then spurred me on to try their ‘bake the cover and win’ competition and June is a celebration of National Gin Day with a gin & tonic cheesecake.
With two failed attempts at a dairy free mango cheesecake and the fact that I’m not a fan of alcoholic infused sweet treats, this wasn’t looking like a good recipe for me to try. But it was a challenge, a new experience and a chance to gain more kitchen skills.
The challenging aspect of this recipe was the gin and tonic jelly topping. I’d never used gelatine leaves before and they were surprisingly easy, but it was the whisking of these leaves into the warm citrus syrup that caused a foam layer. Worried it wasn’t going to disappear, I used a sieve to strain the foam. The second issue that I then encountered was with the jelly topping once it had set in the fridge. I had poured the citrus syrup to the top of the tin and when the cling film was put over the top, it stuck to the mixture, which meant once set it created a ripple effect across the top. Luckily with the additional scattering of thyme leaves and a crafty camera angle, the ripples weren’t that visible.
My mum always says that you need to make a recipe twice, once to see how it turns out and a second time so you can tweak it to suit your tastes and this definitely rung true with this recipe. For us, the biscuit base needed to be slightly thicker, the cheesecake filling to be halved and the jelly topping to be ever so slightly less too. The biscuit base was delicious, the citrus flavour really came out in the cheesecake and the gin and tonic jelly topping complemented the other flavours beautifully.
While I wait to see if my attempt at the cover recipe was good enough to win that Cornish break for two, here is the picture I submitted and if you want to try making this cheesecake, then the recipe is below.
Gin & Tonic Cheesecake, June Issue of Delicious Magazine, p.71
For the biscuit base:
250g pack of Lotus Biscoff caramelised biscuits
For the cheesecake filling:
2 x 280g packs of cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
80g caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 lime and ½ the juice
Grated zest of 1 orange
For the gin & tonic jelly topping:
6 gelatine leaves
2 wide strips of pared zest and the juice of 2 lemons
2 wide strips of pared zest and the juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
100g caster sugar
6 juniper berries, bruised
4 tablespoons of gin
300ml of tonic water
A few fresh lemon thyme sprigs, plus extra to decorate
Plus fresh raspberries and a splash of gin to serve
Put the biscuits in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs or put the biscuits in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin
Melt the butter and pour it into the biscuit mixture and combine
Tip the buttery crumbs into the cake tin and smooth the base using the back of a spoon and pop it into the fridge to firm up while you make the topping
Put the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, grated zests and lemon and lime juices into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth
Spoon the cheese mixture on top of the chilled biscuit base and level the surface with a spatula
Cover with cling film and chill for 2 hours or until the filling has set firm
For the gin and tonic layer, put the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water for 5-10 minutes to soften
Put the lemon, orange and lime juice in a small saucepan with the pared zests, sugar and juniper berries, heat gently to dissolve the sugar and infuse the flavours
Strain into a bowl (discard the zests and the berries) and keep warm
Squeeze out the water from the gelatine leaves, then whisk, one by one, into the warm citrus syrup until dissolved
Add the gin and tonic and whisk a little to mix
Pour the mixture over the chilled cheesecake layer and scatter over a few lemon thyme sprigs
Cover with cling film and leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight if you like
10 minutes before your ready to serve, mix the raspberries in a bowl with the gin and leave to infuse
Carefully remove the cheesecake from your tin, scatter some fresh lemon thyme sprigs over the top and serve with the gin-soaked raspberries