Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy Cheesecake

This is my first Mary Berry Cheesecake, and in true Diary of a Bake-A-Holic style I looked for the easiest one possible. The name of this recipe therefore made the choice ridiculously easy for me.

 I went out specifically to buy some condensed milk and got a tiny bit carried away with all the recipes on the tins. About 20 minutes later I realised what I was doing and grabbed the first tin of condensed milk I saw and dashed home to start baking.

The base of the cheesecake consisted of digestive biscuits, melted butter and a bit of Demerera sugar.  I was determined not to have any big lumpy bits of biscuit so whipped out the pestle and mortar and ground my way through the pack. Naturally one or two had to be eaten along the way – for quality assurance, of course.

I finally managed to get all the biscuits crushed and mixed with the butter and sugar, squished the somewhat dry mixture into the bottom of the cake tin and got it into the fridge to cool while I worked on the next layer. Mary Berry, I hope you know what you’re doing with these crumbly bases!

Then came the hard part – grating lemon zests! Over the course of this blog, I have realised that it is impossible for me to grate anything without injuring myself. I have therefore come up with a fool-proof plan to get it done without any type of injury … bribe someone else to do it. This time, three lemons were grated by a loving father, who received tea and a digestive biscuit for his troubles (thanks dad!).

With the hardest job out of the way, I set about measuring out the cheese, single cream and condensed milk ready to be mixed.  This is where I encountered a slight hitch … my condensed milk was actually ‘caramelised’ condensed milk.  Oops. I had been so engrossed in the recipes on the sides of the tin I didn’t bother to look at what I was buying! I rushed to the shops again while I fogged off a ‘digestive biscuit covered with caramelised condensed milk’ snack onto my family (which, I’d like to point out, is very tasty!).

Once back, I whisked everything together and attempted to spread the mixture evenly on top of the biscuit base.  This went in the fridge overnight and the bowl was taken away by the family to be ‘taste tested’ – a term I wish I didn’t teach them!

After a hectic day the next day I came home to a family sitting expectantly and waiting for me to get the cheesecake out; when I say ‘sitting expectantly’, I actually mean they were glaring at me and pointing at the kitchen as soon as I walked through the door (charming aren’t they?!).

 In my rush to get home I managed to buy double cream instead of whipping cream but I figured it was all relative and started to whisk it anyway. It didn’t help that I didn’t whisk it as much as I probably should have – but I put this down to pressure from the evil glares I was getting for taking so long. A few slice strawberries later and ‘et voila’, we have an Easy Lemon Cheesecake ready to be served.

Once everyone had had their first piece and stopped glaring at me, I could tuck into my own slice of cheesecake. Oh my, Mary Berry, you have done it again! The biscuit base was delectable – the Demerera sugar adds a lovely sweet crunch to it all.  If that wasn’t enough the actual cheesy part – I dribble just thinking about it.  It was very sweet, which may not be to all tastes, but is definitely to mine.  It wasn’t sickly sweet however, but was light and creamy, with the lemon cutting through the sweetness perfectly.

 

Basically this is a delight of a cheesecake.  The only downside was that the double cream made the cake look a little runny, but this is only an aesthetic hitch and thus shouldn’t count in any way. OK, so looks count a bit but it tastes so good that frankly, no one cared.

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Famous Key Lime Pie

With every new season of  ‘The Great British Bake Off’ I get inspired to bake something new. This season was no exception to the rule and I was determined to bake my first ever pie.  Not any old type of pie, but the now famous Key Lime Pie.

 I have to admit that I was grossly unprepared for such a task, to the extent that I went to my local baking retailer and said: “I’m baking a Key Lime Pie, what do I need?” After a look of pure disbelief, the assistant actually managed to figure it out for me and I left with a brand spanking new pie dish and baking beads. I even bought a zester, so that I might be able to zest the limes without injuring myself.

I was ridiculously excited, and immensely terrified at the concept of making pastry … until I got home and realised the Hummingbird Bakery uses digestive biscuits instead.  Ah well. I set my baking beads aside and got started.

The base is essentially just crushed up digest biscuits with butter and is squished into the bottom of the pie dish and cooked for 20 minutes.  Everything was going great but I had a sneaky feeling that my pie dish was too small, I bought the recommended 23cm but it seemed to be a LOT of base for the amount of space there was.

Once baked, I set the base by the window to cool quickly while I got started on the main part of the pie.  This consisted of lots of egg yolks (the whites were swiftly turned into a yummy omelette), condensed milk, and lime zest and juice.

Here is where I messed up.  I started to use my great new zesting gadget and quickly realised that: 1. The recipe says grated. 2. My new gadget was making really big, thick bits of zest.

I didn’t think too much about it at the time and continued to mix everything and pour it into the cold pie crust.  I definitely bought the wrong size pie dish as about a quarter of the filling was left after the pie was filled to the top.  Oops. Afraid to risk it, I set the extra aside and cooked the pie in the oven for about 30minutes.  I was very careful to keep it in long enough so that it wouldn’t be classed as ‘wobbly in the middle’ but also wouldn’t overcook.

Once out the oven I left it to cool and chilled it in the fridge for 24 hours before serving up with cream and a little more lime zest.

So all that’s left to talk about is the taste. What can I say about this pie that will make you believe how unbelievably tasty it is! There aren’t many words that can express how good it tasted: zesty, creamy, light, delectable … GORGEOUS! Let’s just say that there is a reason the ‘British Bake Off’ judges named it one of the tastiest things they’ve had in the entire programme!