Yes, that's right. I made cheesecake. This is a man's cheesecake. I made it for Steph (who isn't a man), but that's OK. It's the making of the cheesecake that was manly. I used bowls and pans and all-sorts. If you feel like making a manly cheesecake, read on.
Photos at the bottom!
OK. Bit embarrassing. I got this from a "women's" magazine, namely, Chat!. Now, before we continue, let me just say that I don't read this, but Steph does the puzzles and I like to laugh at the funny tips and embarrassing problem pages. Honest.
The recipe was actually for lemon cheesecake but, in a moment of abandon, I decided to try for strawberry and adjust the instructions accordingly.
- 50g of butter. I didn't have any, so I used margarine. It worked.
- 150g of digestive biscuits crushed into fine crumbs. Mine was more like "interestingly inconsistent lumps" than "fine crumbs" but it didn't matter too much.
- 135g of strawberry jelly. This was lemon in the original, but who wants to live a tame life? Seize the day! Go for strawberry! 135g is exactly the weight of a standard jelly packet. Handy.
- 600g of soft cheese. The recipe suggests two 300g tubs of Philadelphia light. As far as I can tell, the tubs are 200g, so I used three. I'm sure the non-light cheese (heavy cheese?) would work too, but I didn't risk it.
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. I'm still not sure if caster sugar is the stuff I put in my tea or if it's some kind of "special" sugar, but I just dumped a couple of spoonfuls out of the sugar bowl into the mix and crossed my fingers.
- Some strawberries! You just have to have fruit on your cheesecake.
Now, after I bought all this stuff, I started thinking about how much it cost. Let's see: I got two punnets of strawberries for a pound. Forget the sugar, we only need a smidgen. The cheese is £1.04 per tub at ASDA so that's £3.12 worth of cheese. I bought mine at the local Spar, so I paid about a quid more just for the cheese. Gits.
Anyway, back to prices. Jelly: 30p (again, I got ripped off) and we'll ignore the butter/margarine.
So, that gives us a grand total of: £4.42. That's ignoring butter and sugar and the fact that the gits at spar made this more like £6. Gits.
You can buy a frozen cheesecake for £1.
Still. This one was really nice. And you get to vary how you make it - thicker, crumblier base? More fruit? Whatever you want.
Mixing it all together...
This took about 4 hours in total, although most of that was waiting, so feel free to clean, watch TV or kick puppies in the meantime.
- Gently melt the butter in a pan. Gently. No, really I mean it. Gently. I nearly managed to burn butter. As usual, I did the manly thing when faced with something that has dials or settings (in this case, the cooker) - I thought: "If a low heat is good, then the top setting must be even better!" It isn't.
- Stir in the crushed biscuits and mix. Now you have some control over how the base is going to turn out. If you want a stodgy solid base, use a little more butter (or less biscuit, depends on how thick you want it). If you want a crumbly base, use more biscuit or less butter.
- Tip the gunk you just made into a deep 18cm, loose based, fluted flan tin. Press firmly into the bottom. At this point, I realised I didn't have a deep 18cm, loose based, fluted flan tin. In fact I didn't even know what a deep 18cm, loose based, fluted flan tin was. I couldn't even say "flan tin" without it sounding like "faltin". No problem, thinks I. There's a place in the village (short walk) that sells all sorts of gubbins. They didn't have one. So I improvised and used a saucepan. Roughly the right size and lined with tin foil so that it hangs out over the edge. Then, when the cheesecake is done, you can just lift it out and remove the foil. Good, eh?
- Leave the base to chill for 30 minutes. That means stick it in your fridge.
- When the base is chilled, put the jelly (chop it up first) in a jug and pour in 150ml of boiling water. Stir it until the jelly has melted.
- Empty the cheese into a bowl and add the sugar. Now mix the hell out of it. The original instructions said "whisk", but I don't have a whisk and it sounded a bit girly. So I grabbed a fork and stirred it vigorously until it knew who was boss.
- Pour the jelly solution into the cheese. At this point, you'll probably think "Eugh! Something went wrong, and I'll be damned if I'm going to eat the result". But don't worry. Give it a damn good mixing and it will start to look OK.
- The mixture you're left with seems runny, doesn't it? Well, that's OK. It will all turn out just fine. At this point, I stirred in some sliced strawberries. This bit wasn't in the recipe, but it tasted damn fine. I suggest that instead of slicing the strawberries, you dice them. If you do as I did, the strawberry slices tend to cause weak points in the cheese layer, making it difficult to slice into nice even pieces. Make sure to leave some fruit for decoration. Pour the pink goop over the base.
- Here, the recipe says "chill for two hours". I say "leave it for three or it won't be ready".
- Decorate with sliced strawberries and you're done.
Mine was delicious, and Steph was really impressed.