by Chathurika (Chath) Ginige

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What’s more American than cheesecake, a red, white and blue one at that?

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It’s going to be over 30 degrees Celsius this fourth of July (that’s in the 90’s for those more comfortable with Fahrenheit) and I’ve been trying to think of a dessert that’s quintessentially American, has lovely summer fruit and can be made ahead of time (I do not want an oven on in this weather). This cheesecake ticks all the boxes. A classic American dessert with a fruit flair! Don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients and steps, it’s simple I promise!

The jelly is totally optional, a good quality raspberry puree or jam will do the trick… as will some fresh raspberries!

Make this at least a day ahead, and pull it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.

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Ingredients

For the base

  • 200g of biscuit crumbs (I used graham crackers but have successfully used ginger snaps and Nice biscuits)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

For the filling

  • 4 packages cream cheese (full fat) – mine were 8oz / 225g
  • 1 cup caster/bakers sugar
  • 3 tbsp. plain/all purpose flour
  • 5 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract

For the gelee  (optional)

  • 1 tbsp. clear gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1  tsp. fresh lemon juice.

To garnish and serve

  • Fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Wrap an 8inch spring form tin with 2 layers of aluminium foil, being sure to cover the base and all the way up the sides.

For the base crush the biscuits in a food processor. When you have fine crumbs, add the sugar and butter. Press the mixture into the base of the tin and refrigerate until needed.

In the clean bowl of the the food processor (you can also use a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment), add the room temperature cream cheese, sugar and flour. Mix well, until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 30 seconds after each addition. After the final egg add the cream, zest and vanilla, mixing until incorporated.

Remove the base from the fridge and spoon in the batter. Place the cake tin in a larger roasting pan and place in the oven. Pour hot water around the tin so that it reaches about 1 inch up the side.

Bake for 75min – 90min until the cheesecake looks firm but the centre (and only the centre) looks a little wet and wobbly. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave for about 2 hours before covering with cling film and refrigerating overnight or at least four hours.

Place the frozen raspberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the bowl. In a separate bowl add the water and sprinkle over the gelatin. When the sugar has dissolved, pass the raspberries through a fine sieve and add the softened gelatin to the mixture. Cool the gelee mixture until cool, but still pourable, and spread over the cheesecake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pull out of the fridge about 20 mins before you need to serve it. Run a sharp knife around the edge before removing the edge of the springform tin.

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