Reader's Recipe Swap: Cheesecake

Reader's Recipe Swap: Cheesecake

Raspberry and elderflower cheesecake from Kate Hardie is simple to make and gluten-free. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian.

The old faithful of the dessert menu is endlessly adaptable, lending itself to perfumed fruit, salted caramel and savoury notes.

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Cheesecake is the stalwart of the pudding world, often found on menus somewhere between chocolate fondants and seasonal pavlovas. It's the ultimate make-ahead dessert, and one that we thought our readers would have some cunning ideas for. We weren't wrong "...

For a no-bake number with a little texture, Charlene F's double berry and coconut cheesecake was less rich than most, and I'm sure would work as well with baked rhubarb in cooler months. Withmustard's cherry ripple cheesecake had an attractive boozy edge; if you can't find sour cherries, try soaking dried cranberries in a little lemon juice before adding the amaretto. For a savoury spin, the fig and rosemary cheesecakes from ColonialCravings make an elegant light lunch, while alittlelusciousness' salted caramel cheesecake had my cohort of willing tasters reaching for the knife before they'd finished their first portion. So too with the strikingly bright and light matcha cheesecake from TwinnyDip; made with whipped egg whites, it had none of the cloying texture that can be off-putting for some.

The winner, though, was elegant in flavour, texture and taste, with elderflower-infused raspberries, creamy white chocolate and a little kick from ginger biscuits. Even better, it's ready in five minutes, and gluten-free.

Gluten-free mini raspberry ripple and elderflower cheesecakes

These individual cheesecakes are great to make in advance of a summer party. Use ginger biscuits to give extra zing to the biscuit base.
Kate Hardie, via GuardianWitness

Serves 6
110g gluten-free ginger biscuits, crushed
50g butter, melted
275g raspberries
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
110g gluten-free white chocolate
3 tbsp full-fat soft cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp icing sugar, sieved

1 Put the crushed biscuits in a bowl with the melted butter, then mix until combined.

2 Divide the biscuit crumbs between espresso-size glasses or coffee cups, pressing down as you go, until they are approximately 2cm in depth. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the cheesecake mixture.

3 Place a third of the raspberries in a small bowl and pour over the elderflower cordial. Stir to coat evenly, then set to one side.

4 Next, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, mix together the melted white chocolate, cheese, vanilla extract and icing sugar, then add the remaining raspberries. As you stir, the raspberries will break down slightly, creating a kind of ripple effect.

5 Spoon the mixture on top of the crushed biscuits and level off with a teaspoon. Decorate the top of the cheesecakes with a couple of the elderflower-infused raspberries to complete, then return to the fridge to chill until ready to eat.

Double cherry ripple baked cheesecake

Double cherry ripple baked cheesecake

This cheesecake needs to be made a day in advance, so it can chill thoroughly overnight in the fridge. I love the contrast of fresh cream cheese alongside the sweet and sour cherry mix.
withmustard, via GuardianWitness

Serves 8-10
For the base
200g dark chocolate digestives
75g unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake mixture
100g dried sour cherries
Hot water
4 tbsp amaretto liqueur
720g full-fat cream cheese
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping
450g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
25g dark chocolate, shaved

1 Grease a 20cm springform cake tin with butter. Roughly crush the chocolate digestive biscuits, pour over the butter, then mix well and press into the bottom of the cake tin.

2 Place the dried sour cherries in a bowl, add just-boiled water to cover halfway, then add the amaretto liqueur. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.

3 Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with the sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth, then divide this mix between two bowls. Using a stick blender, blend the plump sour cherries into a coarse paste. Add to one of the bowls of cream cheese, mixing well. Load up the cheesecake base by placing alternate dollops of plain and cherry cheesecake mix alongside and on top of each other. Press and smooth over using a palette knife, ensuring there are no gaps between the two mixtures.

4 Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the outer part is puffed and rising and the centre remains a little wobbly. Leave to cool in the oven and then chill overnight in the fridge.

5 When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the fridge, carefully remove from the tin and decorate with the fresh cherries and chocolate shavings.

Double coconut and berry cheesecake

Double coconut and berry cheesecake

There's a double hit of coconut in this cheesecake from the biscuits and the filling " a taste of the exotic with a hint of the wonderful British summer.
Charlene F, via GuardianWitness

Serves 8-10
For the base
400g coconut biscuits, crushed
150g unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
600g full-fat cream cheese
1 tbsp vanilla essence
60g caster sugar
40g desiccated coconut

For the topping
180g raspberries
100g strawberries
Maple syrup, for drizzling

1 Put the crushed biscuits in a bowl then pour over the melted butter and mix well, until everything is combined. Press the biscuit mix into a 20cm springform tin, then chill for an hour to firm up.

2 In a mixing bowl, stir the cream cheese, caster sugar, vanilla essence and desiccated coconut until everything is combined. Pour the filling on to the chilled biscuit base and spread evenly using a palette knife. Chill again for 4 hours, or overnight.

3 Once the filling has set, top with the berries and drizzle with maple syrup.

Salted caramel cheesecake

Salted caramel cheesecake

Always use good quality full-fat cheese when making this " it's so much better for baking, and believe me when I say I've tried and failed with others!
alittlelusciousness, via GuardianWitness

Serves 12
For the base
150g digestive biscuits, crushed
75g unsalted butter, melted

For the salted caramel
100g unsalted butter
200g light brown sugar
220ml double cream
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling
900g full-fat cream cheese
200g unrefined golden caster sugar
200ml sour cream
3 tbsp plain flour
3 whole eggs and 1 yolk
3 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of a 20cm springform tin.

2 Combine the butter and biscuits. Press down into the base of the cake tin and bake for 10 minutes until golden, then remove and leave to cool.

3 Reduce the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3, then make your salted caramel. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the sugar, double cream and salt and whisk until combined and smooth. Bubble gently for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Leave to cool.

4 To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and golden caster together until smooth, then add the sour cream and flour and beat again. Gradually add the eggs and yolk, then the vanilla bean paste, beating well between each addition.

5 Pour the salted caramel on to the biscuit base, then top with the cream cheese mixture. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the edges become lightly golden. Turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool, with the door open a little. This stops it from cracking.

Mini savoury fig and rosemary cheesecakes

Mini savoury fig and rosemary cheesecakes

These have a firm texture and a lovely, crumbly, oaty base. They make a perfect starter or fancy lunch. For best results, make sure that your eggs and cheese are room temperature before you start.
ColonialCravings, via GuardianWitness

Makes 6
For the base
3 tbsp digestive biscuit crumbs
3 tbsp oats
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

For the filling
150g cream cheese
75g ricotta cheese
1 egg
4 tbsp grated parmesan
Black pepper, to taste
3 small ripe figs, halved

1 Preheat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3-4. Line a six-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

2 Mix together all of the ingredients for the base, then press a heaped tablespoonful of it into each cavity of the muffin tin and place it in the fridge to chill and set while you make the filling.

3 Beat together the cheeses until they are nice and smooth, then beat in the egg, the parmesan and black pepper.

4 Spoon the filling evenly over the bases and carefully place half a fig, cut side up, on top of each one. The filling should be thick enough to support it. Place the tray in a bain-marie and bake for 25-30 minutes. Once cooked, they should still have a gentle wobble to them. Open the oven door slightly and leave them in there until totally cool. Transfer to the fridge to chill completely before serving.

Matcha cheesecake with dark chocolate shortbread base

Matcha cheesecake with dark chocolate shortbread base

Typically, Japanese cheesecakes are lighter and fluffier than their North American and European cousins, making them perfect afternoon tea treats for a hot summer day. For extra indulgence, we are using matcha, Japanese green tea, which is distinctively rich and creamy with a sweet note; a perfect ingredient for desserts such as cheesecake.
TwinnyDip, via GuardianWitness

Serves 6-8
For the shortbread base

90g flour
30g flour
20g cocoa powder
30g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
A small pinch of salt

For the filling
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
130g sugar
4 eggs, separated
45g cornflour
20ml lemon juice
10-15g matcha powder, to taste
Approx 120ml boiling water
5ml vanilla extract
1 tsp cream of tartar

1 Heat oven to 175C/350F/gas mark 5. Prepare the base by combining all the ingredients, then lightly butter a 20cm springform pan. Spread the shortbread base dough evenly into the pan, prick several times with a fork, then bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to let cool completely.

2 Turn the oven up to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with 65g of the sugar, the egg yolks, cornflour and lemon juice until smooth.

3 Next, dissolve the matcha in about 120ml boiling water, adding more if required; you'll need a smooth paste with no lumps. Slowly add the matcha into the cream cheese mixture, beating at the same time, then add the vanilla extract.

4 In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Slowly add the rest of the sugar and cream of tartar into the egg whites, beating at the same time until glossy and soft peaks form. Fold the egg white mixture into the cream cheese in four additions, stirring in gently. Pour the batter over the shortbread base, tapping the tin on the counter to make sure no bubbles form.

5 Wrap the outside of the cake pan with aluminium foil, then place the cake pan into a large roasting tray. Pour enough water into the roasting pan so that it comes to about halfway up the side of the cake pan, then bake for 10 minutes. After this time, reduce back to 175C/335F/gas mark 3-4 and bake for a further 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake come out clean but the cake is still wobbly in the middle. Open the door of the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 10 minutes before taking it out. Let cool completely at room temperature before chilling. Chill for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.



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