This recipe has overturned a lifetime's prejudice - which is good, but unsettling. I had always been a committed believer that the only true cheesecake was the proper, baked cheesecake, but now I'm not so sure. This improper, unbaked cheesecake, feature of many a 1970s dessert trolley, has entirely won me over. It's light, it has tang, it is rapturously good. The fact that it is speedily easy to make is more reason for general hilarity and joy. Even in the spirit of retro-accuracy, please do not be tempted to open a jar of cherry pie filling over the cake. I use some French cherry concoction that seems to be pretty universally available and has no added sugar, but anything labelled 'conserve' as opposed to 'jam' should be safe. And, if you feel like it, when cherries are in season, rather strew the top with a couple of handfuls of beautiful fruit.
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 stick soft unsalted butter
- 10 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 (10-ounce) jar black cherry spread (recommended: St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit)
Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the sugar and butter and whiz again to make the mixture clump. If using graham cracker crumbs, you can use a bowl and wooden spoon to mix the butter in, with the sugar added.
Press this mixture into a 8-inch springform tin; press a little up the sides to form a slight ridge.
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
Lightly whip the cream, and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth with a spatula, put it in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, un-mold and spread the black cherry spread over the top.