Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Fast Lemon Cheesecake

I think lemons are the most amazingly versatile fruit. Do you agree? Can you think of another fruit that you can use in so many different ways?

This is the first time for many years that I do not have my own lemon tree and I get quite cross when I see how much one lemon costs in the shops, when you are sure that there are lemon trees in the neighbourhood that have unwanted fruit. (I just have to find them) I probably used 4 or 5 lemons a week, either for their zest or juice, so if I can find a local supply, I would be happy to swap something from my garden for a few extra lemons.
Lemon Festival at Monterosso al Mare, Italy
The annual Lemon Festival in Italy, usually in May is quite small and is very localised. All the shops and businesses in town decorate their places with lemons and sprays of lemon flowers and anything yellow they can get their hands on. It is very nice to visit at this time because everyone is happy, the weather is excellent and the streets are adorned in yellow and the smell of the lemon blossoms is superb.

In France there is an annual Lemon Festival, FĂȘte du Citron, in a town called Menton in the Alpes-Maritimes. They have been growing citrus since 15th century and the festival now attracts visitors from around the world. It's on my bucket list!

A couple of days ago I needed a quick dessert which my guests would love so I decided to make this Lemon Cheesecake. It is quite straight forward. Basically you can buy everything and just assemble it and everyone who has tasted it loves it. However, if you want to make it that bit special, make your own Lemon Curd.

(I will post the recipe for the Lemon Curd later in the week)

I have great childhood memories of thick slices of bread and butter with a topping of sticky, yellow, sweet lemon curd. It was a real treat then, now it's a reminder of my family back in the UK and how it used to be. So, before I shed a nostalgic tear, let's get back to the recipe.

Fast Lemon Cheesecake

You will need 4 glass tumblers or something similar for this recipe.

Ingredients - Makes 4

1 Tub of Mascarpone Cheese
1 tblsp caster sugar
Jar of lemon curd either bought or home made
10 ginger biscuits or digestive biscuits
100g unsalted butter
50 grams of blanched almonds or macadamias
1 tsp vanilla essence
Punnet of raspberries or strawberries fresh or frozen
Chocolate to make shavings 

1. Smash up the biscuits and the nuts together either using a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle. Don't make them too fine because you want to retain some texture.
2. Melt butter in small saucepan and add the nuts, vanilla essence and biscuit crumbs. Mix well and divide this between your glasses. This is the base of your cheese cake.
3. Sprinkle raspberries or chopped strawberries on to the biscuit crumbs.
4. Add 4 tablespoons of thick, delicious Lemon Curd.
5. In a small bowl mix caster sugar, Mascarpone and place a good swirl on top of the curd.  Level it so it looks nice and neat.
6. Grate Chocolate and sprinkle over the Mascarpone, or make some shards of     chocolate.
7. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve. You don't need to serve anything else with because it is rich and sweet enough.

If your guests don't say that they would like some more I would be very surprised!

Here's one I prepared earlier

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