I made this cheesecake for one of our Christmas Day desserts this year (to go with the more traditional offerings of sherry trifle and Christmas pud). It proved popular with everyone so I've already decided that cheesecake will be a permanent feature of our Christmas Day menu in future. Yum!
The great thing about this recipe is that it is really easy to adapt. You don't have to use white chocolate - dark chocolate and milk chocolate work just as well - and you can also use different varieties of biscuits in the base or fruits in the topping. I chose raspberries because they're my oldest daughter's favourite fruit yet we don't have them very often, and they have the additional bonus of being a rather festive colour!
Here in the UK, this style of cheesecake with a biscuit base and cream cheese topping is probably more widely known than its baked counterpart. Not all recipes will contain chocolate in the topping but I find it a useful ingredient because it means that the topping will set without using gelatine. Besides, what recipe can't be improved by chocolate?
I haven't even mentioned the best bit yet. This recipe is so easy to make. Standing-on-your-head-with-your-hands-tied-behind-your-back easy! There's no baking involved (just a bit of gentle mixing) and it can be made in advance too. The only thing that could possibly go wrong - and I'm only mentioning this because it has happened to me - is that you could burn the chocolate when you melt it. Consider yourself warned!
No-bake White Chocolate & Raspberry CheesecakeServes 8-10
175g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted
225g white chocolate
150g full-fat soft cheese (I use Philadelphia)
20g caster sugar
375ml extra-thick double cream
225g fresh raspberries
white chocolate stars, to decorate (optional)
Line the base of a 20-cm round springform cake tin.
Crush the biscuits to make fine crumbs. Place in a bowl, pour in the melted butter and stir until the biscuit crumbs are thoroughly coated. Tip into the prepared tin and press down using the back of a spoon to form a base with an even thickness. Place in the fridge to chill whilst you are making the topping.
Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Place in the microwave and heat on MEDIUM in bursts of 30 seconds, stirring in between, until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
Put the soft cheese in a large bowl, add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate, then gently fold in the cream. Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth the surface. Return the tin to the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
Run a sharp knife around the inside edge of the tin, then unclip the tin. Transfer the cheesecake to a plate and arrange the raspberries over the top. Sprinkle over the white chocolate stars to decorate, if using.
- To crush the biscuits into crumbs, I tend to put them in a strong freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin. This is a job you can easily delegate to your kids - just keep an eye on them (mine can become a little over-zealous when it comes to bashing). You can do this using a food processor if you prefer.
- Another way to melt chocolate is to set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir regularly until melted. Just make sure that the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water and that none of the water gets into the chocolate.
- Whichever method you use for melting the chocolate, it's best to remove the bowl from the heat source before the chocolate is fully melted as the heat of the melted chocolate should be enough to melt any remaining solid bits of chocolate.
- It is important to use full-fat soft cheese in this recipe because the topping won't set properly if you use a lower-fat version. It'll still taste nice though!
- I tend to use extra-thick double cream in this recipe for ease of use - you don't have to whip it before using, thus saving a bowl's worth of washing up! You can use regular double cream instead, but you will need to whip it until it forms very soft peaks before folding it very gently into the soft cheese and chocolate mixture.