Summer Cheesecake

This cheesecake is frozen rather than baked, and it’s perfect for summer. I have a rough method for making this and it comes out different every time but always delicious. You can make it ahead of time, I usually make it a day or two before serving, but I assume it would be fine in the freezer for longer.

Ingredients

Base

  • I packet biscuits to give 250g biscuit crumbs, I use Bastogne because they already have some spice in the biscuit and a nice caramel colour
  • 100-120 grams of butter, melted

Filling

  • cream cheese 200g (full fat)
  • quark or yoghurt 400g (full fat)
  • icing sugar about 100g
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • gelatin 4 sheets

Method

Step 1

Crush the biscuits into a rough crumb, add melted butter, mix together

Cheesecake step 1Step 2

Press the mixture into the base of a springform tin, the one I use is relatively small, 18cm. Put the base in the freezer while you make the filling.

cheesecake step 2Step 3

Blend together all the filling ingredients except the gelatin. I use a wand blender to do this.
Soften the gelatin sheets in a little warm water, add the whole lot to the mixture and blend again. I’ve found the mix of cream cheese and yoghurt/quark makes a lighter filling that’s perfect after a meal.

Step 4

Pour filling into prepared base and put cheesecake into the freezer.

When it’s semi set add any flavouring (see below), you’ll need to wait about an hour to do this otherwise your flavouring will all sink to the bottom of the cheesecake. Put it back in the freezer for at least 3 more hours.

Step 5

I used some raspberry jam thinned with hot water to a coulis consistency in this one, here it is out of the freezer.

Take the cheesecake out of the freezer before the meal, on a warm day it will defrost to a refreshing temperature in about 2 hours. If you get it wrong it’s more like an ice cream cake which is still delicious.

Step 5

Serve on your prettiest plate.

serve cheesecakeFlavouring Ideas

I’ve experimented with adding some flavourings to the filling, add them to a semi-set cheesecake, I used raspberry ripple

  • Raspberry Ripple; stir in some raspberry coulis
  • Cherry Delight; macerate fresh cherries (without stones) in kirsch
  • Apricot Appeal; macerate dried apricots in Grand Marnier
  • Citrus Scented; double up on the lemon zest, add candied peel, decorate with caramelised orange segments

Amsterdam is so Cool

Keeping cool at Museumplein thanks to the fire brigade who turned the pond outside the Rijksmuseum into a water feature.  Only one word for it… “superleuk”.

Keeping Cool

Image

Keeping Cool

It’s been pretty warm in the last couple of weeks, but tomorrow rain is forecast and the temperature will drop.

So a few people were taking the last opportunity to relax in the parks this evening, including this guy – who has found a super cool way to read the newspaper. Just needs to watch where he’s drifting.

It’s summer

It’s not that easy to tell from the weather we’re experiencing but officially it’s summer. That means it’s time for summer boat parties.
Canal boat in Amsterdam
Even the rain doesn’t put off Dutch boating parties, these guys are hiding under a bridge until the shower passes.
canal boat in the rain

Fruit Picking

August is holiday season in a big way. It’s school holidays across various parts of the Netherlands so a lot of my colleagues are away, and lots of my favourite shops/stalls are closed.

I do a lot of my regular shopping at the local market, or at local family run businesses. Obviously these people need a holiday as well, but it does feel really odd when your favourite suppliers just aren’t in the market. The sign shown above is from a local fruit and vegetable shop, run by a family of such Dutch apperance Rembrandt could have invented them. The sign means “We’re away picking fruit”.

So That Was Summer

“Guess what!” said a greying man as he stepped out of the cafe.
“It’s stopped raining?” answered his daughter looking up hopefully. Looking up at dangerously heavy grey clouds wasn’t that reasuring and the two of them pulled out rain capes before unlocking their bikes and cycling away.

After three weeks of punishing heat, the hottest July on record, August is turning autumnal very fast. The temperature has dropped about 15 degrees and every day is rainy. Several Dutch people, including the bus driver, have commented that we’re into autumn already.

Last week I photographed the gay parade in bright sunshine, the week before I sat outside at this cafe drinking wine in the sun and wearing very little. Today I’m wearing shoes and sox, trousers, shirt, coat and a woollen scarf. So that was summer then.