Nigel, Nigel . . . Nigel . . . we have to stop meeting like this. My husband is soon going to start suspecting something is going on . . . and he would be right. I am in love . . . with anything that comes from the kitchen or culinary mind of Nigel Slater . . . he is a man who thinks, breathes and lives and eats food with much the same passion of myself. I'd even go so far as to say we are twins . . . truly. We must have been separated at birth.
Cheesecake has always been something that I could kind of take or leave. On a scale between one and ten, it falls somewhere about a 5 or a 6. There are other desserts which I have always favoured far more . . . until now, that is!!
If you only make one dessert this year . . . let it be THIS one!
Imagine crunchy buttery shortbread biscuit crumbs . . . layered in a pretty glass between an unctuously billowy and rich cheese filling composed of sweetened whipped cream, rich mascarpone cheese and delightfully creamy philadelphia cream cheese, delicately flavoured with orange zest and vanilla. Full fat and why not! In for a penny in for a pound!
Now top that moreish combination with the wonderful tang of early spring rhubarb, lightly poached and sweetened with a touch of honey (my own addition and I just know Nigel is saying right now to himself . . . why didn't I think of that???) and more orange zest. Oh soooooooo scrummy!!
I could quite happily never eat anything else but this for the rest of my life . . . but then again, I am quite fickle, and when next month's Sainsbury's magazine pops through my post box, I will be waxing raphsodic about another Nigel creation . . . I am sure. You probably don't want to know how many calories are in this one!
Ladies and gentlemen may I present . . . Cheesecake in a glass with rhubarb syrup. Try not to all gasp at once!
*Cheesecake in a Glass with Rhubarb Syrup*
If you only make one dessert this year . . . let this be the one! Easily made the day before (without the topping). Top with the rhubarb just before serving.
50g of butter (1/4 cup)
200g shortbread type of biscuits, made into fine crumbs (about 2 cups)
For the cheese filling:
350ml of double cream (1 1/3 cups whipping cream)
150g of caster sugar (2/3 cup)
250g of mascarpone cheese (1 cup)
300g of soft cream cheese (1 1/4 cup)
the finely grated zest of an unwaxed orange
1/4 tsp vanilla
For the rhubarb topping:
450g of rhubarb (1 pound)
150g of caster sugar (2'3 cup)
1 TBS honey
the finely grated zest of 1/2 unwaxed orange
First make the crumbs. You want the biscuits really crushed fine. (A biscuit is a cookie.) Melt the butter and mix it together with the biscuit crumbs. Set aside.
Measure the cream along with the sugar into a large bowl. Whisk with a balloon whisk just until it begins to thicken. Do not over whip as you will have problems. Fold in the mascarpone cheese and cream cheese, along with the orange zest and vanilla. Set aside.
Wash the rhubarb and trim. Cut into 1 inch lengths. Place into a large pan along with the sugar, orange zest, honey and 4 TBS water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and gently poach the rhubarb until softened. This will take about 15 minutes or so. Remove the rhubarb with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Bring the juices back to the boil and reduce until it is thick and syrupy. Watch carefully as you don't want it to burn or disappear. Set aside to cool.
Spoon a tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the bottoms of some pretty glasses. Top with 1/3 of the crumbs. Spoon half of the remaining cheese mixture over top. Top with 1/3 of the crumbs. Add the remaining cheese mixture, once again spooning it on top. sprinkle with the remainder of the crumbs. Divide the poached rhubarb between all the glasses and spoon it on top of the crumbs. Drizzle with a bit of the rhubarb syrup. Serve.