A low calorie look at life, writing and cake.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Desperately Seeking Sunshine

So finally we’re getting it in synch... warm weather AND weekend. Hurrah!
So as kids scream on trampolines, teenagers flash bejewelled tummies and mums lie in back gardens dropping their bra straps like ageing page 3 models, my thoughts turn – to cheesecake. I will have no truck with awkward moves on sunloungers to get a bit of colour (or cancer), skirts hitched up to the thighs desperately seeking sunshine. I have no need of such base pleasures because I have my own brand of sunshine and colour – in the irresistible form of ‘Helen’s Lime Cheesecake,’  thee most easiet, deliciousest and zestiest cheesecake recipe I’ve ever made or tasted.

I have an almost Pavlovian response to sunny weekends when it comes to this particular combination of illicit calories. And as the weekend sun rises, I have been known to salivate gently (and not inelegantly, never inelegantly) at the thought of spicy lime and rich, sweet cream on top of crunchy biscuits...

The ‘Helen’ of the title is my lovely sister-in-law, who really does have a way with desserts. She gave me this recipe when we stayed the weekend -   she sort of guessed I liked it when I ate my fifth slice. Helen makes hers with a digestive base, but if you want something a little spicy, Ginger Nuts compliment the richness of the cream and the zest of the lime.... I have to stop... I’m dribbling as I type!

Let me share this with you so you too can be damp with joy all weekend without the hurly burly of garden loungers and pesky wasps and retreat into the deep, deep peace of the cheesecake kitchen.

175g 7 oz Biscuits (digestives or ginger nuts)
75ml 3 oz Butter (melted)
400g  16 oz Condensed milk (try not to spoon it all straight into your mouth rather than the bowl)
300mls Half pint of Double Cream
250ml 8 floz fresh Lemon and Lime juice
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime

You can put the biscuits into a plastic bag and bash them around with a rolling pin if you like, but who really wants to be arsed doing this on a hot day. If you have a blender, throw them all in there and blend as you sip chilled white wine – if you don’t have a blender, get a child to do it with the bag and the rolling pin and tell them it’s a game.

You may need to stop sipping on chilled white wine to mix the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs (though I have mastered the art of doing both at the same time because I never give up). When it’s all mixed through flatten those golden, buttery crumbs into a flan dish. Then (and this is good) mix the rest of the ingredients together in a big bowl (saving a couple of teaspoonfuls of lime zest for decorative topping) I use a whisk, but you could easily use a fork because it becomes thick really quickly. Now spoon onto the flattened biscuit, checking the taste by finding an extra spoon and spooning quite a bit into your mouth to make sure it’s just the right taste and consistency (ok, so this may be the reason that I’m so bitter about the page 3 wrinklies outside – due to OD on cheesecake I can barely fit on the sunlounger!) Then, if you can possibly bear to wait, pop into the fridge to set. If you can’t, just get a knife a large plate a nice big chair and a good book - and go for it!

Helen’s Lime Cheesecake is a sunshiney weekend on a plate, and you can spend an hour on any warm weekend making it or you can spend that hour in the garden forming red shoulders and lines up to your thighs that will go from red to white – and last all Summer. What’s it to be?

Not only do I substitute Helen’s Digestive Biscuits for Ginger Nuts, I have been known to add a few carefully placed slices of strawberry... I am so creative it HURTS!

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