I’m not sure if the Sara Lee brand exists in the UK or only in Australia. Maybe it does and I haven’t noticed, but Sara Lee individual frozen cheesecakes are my very first memory of cheesecake. Still frozen, like cold cupcakes, a package of four baby cheesecakes sitting in the kitchen would make me quickly eat my broccoli and not have seconds of mince and stovies (for those without a Scottish grandmother, stovies is a potatoes and onion dish that we used to have with a mince and carrot stew). Along with Nutella, the mini cheesecakes were only available at my grandmother’s house; my very healthy parents (quite wisely in retrospect) didn’t let us have these things at home.
I have to confess that I’ve never made a cheesecake myself before but Harley’s sister’s birthday was today, so thought this was a good reason to try – plus I needed an excuse to try and make mascarpone. I worked from home on Friday, so could make the cheese that morning, let it set all day and night, and have it ready to use for Saturday’s cooking. This is what I love about cheese making – I get to make the cheese and then find things to cook that call for them.
The cake is based on a baked mascarpone cheesecake recipe by Eat Blog Sleep. I did make a couple of changes to the recipe – including using 400g of ginger biscuits instead of 250g of shortbread (I found 250g wasn’t enough for my tin – although this could be because I didn’t make my crumbs fine enough – and I wanted a light lemon/ginger flavour combination), I also used 450g mascarpone and 200g cream cheese (mainly because of how much mascarpone I made) instead of the ratios in the recipe, and added in 4 whites rather than 3 – my mixture wasn’t super firm and I didn’t want to waste the white. The cake didn’t taste eggy at all (something I really dislike in a cheesecake), so this last bit seemed to be an ok modification.
It’s creamy, soft with a solid biscuit crust that is just the right hardness – you need to put some pressure with your spoon on the outside and then, crack, you hit the plate and get a whole lot of bite size chunks to chew on with the cheese and tart strawberries halves – I don’t think the leftovers will last very long in our fridge. If I made it again, I would probably use slightly less butter in the crust as it was a bit too buttery for my liking, although Harley’s sister disagreed, so maybe it’s just me.