Sunday, 18 October 2009

'Raisin' the Bar

When you have friends coming to stay (as we did this weekend), it's nice to feel you've given them a good time, isn't it?  Lots of food, lots of wine and LOTS of fun and laughter.  All this can be smoothed by getting as much of the slog work out of the way in advance of of your VIPs' arrival  A lovely pudding is always popular, even if you have the sort of friends (I don't) that claim not to eat puddings!  Rum-and-raisin ice cream is a great favourite of my beloved and so a cheesecake inspired by these flavours seemed like a grand idea to me.  Thankfully it worked; trying out a new idea without testing it out on my long-suffering family first could have been a disaster!  You do need to start this in plenty of time, you need an overnight soak for the raisins and then another overnight (or most of the day) chilling to set the topping on the base.  Spreads the workload, though...

Rum & Raisin Cheesecake

100g raisins

4 tbsp dark rum

Pour the rum over the raisins, cover the dish with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight.  The next day:

300g digestive biscuits, crushed
100g butter, melted

Combine the crumbs with the butter and mix thoroughly.  Pat into the base of an oiled 20cm springform (or loose-bottomed, at any rate) cake tin and chill to firm up, while you prepare the topping.

2 eggs, separated
50g light muscovado sugar
150g cream cheese
200g ricotta cheese
150ml pot double cream
Beat the egg yolks with 25g of the sugar, then beat in the cream cheese and the ricotta until smooth.  Tip in the raisins and the rum and stir to combine. Whip the cream and fold this in as well.  Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then tip in the remaining 25g of sugar (sieved) and whisk until stiff and glossy.  Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture, then pour this over the prepared base in the tin.  Chill for several hours, or overnight, until set.  Run a knife around the edges before releasing from the tin to serve.  Divinely delish!

Cath xx

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