Chelsea’s white chocolate & berry cheesecake
This is still one of my most popular recipes ever – especially around Christmas time! People make it year after year, and can you blame them? It looks a million bucks and isn’t the slightest bit difficult to make. It can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a day or so – then you add the berries just before serving. I’ve also had people drizzle it with melted chocolate, and make individual cheesecakes in ring moulds or muffin tins.
You can also freeze the whole cheesecake – chill it in the tin, wrap it tightly in a double layer of clingfilm then a layer of foil, and freeze for up to 4 weeks.
Gluten-free: This recipe is easy to make gluten-free just by choosing gluten-free biscuits for the base. You can find these at most supermarkets. Any sort will work.
350g double or triple chocolate cookies (GF if needed)
75g softened (almost melted) butter
500g cream cheese – not the spreadable kind, and not light
250g good quality white chocolate, chopped
1 cup cream
3 punnets ripe strawberries (or a mix of summer berries raspberries, even pomegranate seeds)
1/3 cup berry jam melted with 1 tbsp water (optional)
Bring the cream cheese out of the fridge 20 or so minutes before you start, to lose it’s chill. (Or you can microwave on medium power in a heatproof bowl for 10-15 seconds or so).
Line the base of a round 20-25cm diameter springform cake tin with a cut round of baking paper.
Place the biscuits in a food processor and process to a very fine crumb (you can also very finely smash the biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin if you don’t have a food processor). Add the butter and process until well combined and smooth. Tip the crumbs into the cake tin and using clean moistened fingers, press the crumb firmly into the base.
Beat the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Set aside.
Place the chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl sitting over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water), and heat until just melted, stirring only every now and then. (If it seizes and goes grainy, remove from the heat, add a little cream and stir in a circular motion until it’s smooth again. You can also add a splash of rice bran oil to help it along.) Remove the chocolate from the heat and and let sit for 10 minutes.
Fold a quarter of the melted chocolate into the cream cheese, then repeat with the remaining chocolate in three parts.
Whip the cream until thick and cloudy, but stop before it gets too firm. Gently fold it through the cream cheese mixture. At this point, you can also fold in a handful of fresh raspberries if you like.
Scrape the mixture on to the biscuit base and smooth out the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set, or until needed (it’s fine overnight or for a couple of nights, if it’s well sealed).
Just before you’re ready to tuck in to your cheesecake, sit the tin on a sturdy wide bowl. Carefully release the spring latch on the tin and let the sides of the tin drop down. Gently remove the metal base with a metal spatula or fish slice, and peel off the baking paper if you can. Carefully slide the cheesecake on to a serving platter (it’s easier doing this when it’s cold straight from the fridge). Smooth out the sides with a warm knife.
Arrange the fresh berries on top.
Drizzle with a little of the melted jam if you like, dust with icing sugar, slice with a hot knife and serve. If you have freeze dried berries, you could also crumble some up and throw some on top for a bit of zing.
It’ll go soft quickly on a hot day so put any leftovers back in the fridge right away. Enjoy, my friends!
Note: You can freeze the whole cheesecake without the berries on it – wrap it tightly in a double layer of glad wrap and a layer of foil, and freeze for up to 4 weeks.