Delia

Savoury Feta Cheesecake

The savoury cheesecake is a real winner. Feta cheese lightened with fromage frais makes a lovely cool summer cheesecake, just right for a light lunch served with a salad or Spiced Pickled Pears.

Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese is available from www.bookhamcheese.co.uk



Serves 6-8

This recipe is taken from Delia's Summer Collection and Delia's Vegetarian Collection

Savoury Feta Cheesecake
Ingredients
For the base:
 3 oz (75 g) white breadcrumbs
 1½ oz (40 g) Pecorino Romano or Parmesan finely grated (see intro)
 1 oz (25 g) butter, melted
 freshly milled black pepper
For the filling:
 8 oz (225 g) feta cheese
 8 oz (225 g) medium-fat curd cheese
 6 oz (175 g) 8 per cent fromage frais
 4 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh chives
 3 spring onions, finely sliced
 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 2 teaspoons gelatine powder
 2 large egg whites
 freshly milled black pepper
 Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
Equipment
You will also need an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin with a loose base, lightly oiled. If it is less than 2 inches (5 cm) deep, line the sides with baking parchment to give a depth of 2 inches (5 cm).

Method

Begin by putting the breadcrumbs in a bowl and adding the cheese, the melted butter and a seasoning of pepper (no salt because the cheese is quite salty). Now press the crumb mixture into the base of the prepared tin, pressing it firmly flat with the back of a spatula. Then pop it into the oven on a high shelf and bake for 15 minutes or until it is crisp and toasted golden brown. Then remove from the oven.

Now make the filling by first breaking up the feta cheese with a fork and then adding this to a food processor, along with the curd cheese and fromage frais, and blend until completely smooth. Then transfer to a bowl and stir in the chives, spring onions and some freshly milled pepper.

Next, measure the lemon juice and 2 fl oz (55 ml) water into a small saucepan, sprinkle in the gelatine, stir to dissolve the granules and then leave to one side. Then in a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage.Now heat the gelatine mixture to boiling point and add it to the cheese; use an electric hand whisk or stir quickly with a wooden spoon to combine it thoroughly. Then follow this with the whisked egg whites, first folding 1 tablespoon of the whites into the cheese mixture to loosen it, then stirring in the remaining whites.

Now immediately pour the whole lot on to the cooled base, cover with clingfilm and transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to chill and set until needed, preferably overnight.

Note: This recipe contains raw eggs.

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