Baked Vanilla Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote - Unlive by Lindsey

Absolutely no cooking for me over Easter. We made our annual trip to the wilds of Norfolk, where we spend our Easter every year at Morston Hall. It’s quite the loveliest country house hotel ever, and with only seven rooms you feel as though you’re actually at home but with a houseful of charming, smiling nurturing servants who make sure you have absolutely everything you need without you noticing. Galton and Tracy Blackiston, the owners, have created something quite unique and together with chef Samantha Wegg have been awarded a Michelin star. But this year the exciting bit is that Galton is pitting his wits and skills on television against other leading chefs in the country to create a special 80th birthday meal for the Queen. Galton’s first round in The Great British Menu starts next Monday at 6.30pm on BBC 2, and I’m hoping that if you think it is fitting you will all vote for him if he gets through to the finals. He is a very special friend as we share not just a passion for food but also for football. He is the most ardent supporter of Norwich City football club that we know! On Saturday we all trailed off to Sheffield Wednesday and lost, but together we saw a very exciting win on Easter Monday. All over the weekend I pondered which of Galton’s recipes to ask for for you all to try and this came out tops – positively the best cheesecake I’ve tasted and with quite a new way of cooking to avoid the dreaded cracks. Just what we all need with a summer of luscious berries coming up – but for now I think rhubarb fits the bill perfectly (particularly as in the last few days our rhubarb plants, right, have literally shot up in several corners of the kitchen garden). Together they make a very splendid dessert for a special occasion. Galton says that the filling is best made by hand; if you use a mixer or whisk you will incorporate too much air and spoil the texture of the cheesecake. When you take it out of the oven after 1 hour it may look very wobbly, but it will set. If you are really worried, stick a knife into it: if the knife comes out hot, it’s time to take it out of the oven.

Serves 8-10

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote  - Unlive by Lindsey
For the base:
 4 oz (110 g) salted butter, softened
 1 oz (25 g) icing sugar
 4 oz (110 g) self-raising flour, sifted
For the filling:
 15 oz (425 g) full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese
 15 oz (425 g) crème fraiche
 9 oz (250 g) caster sugar
 1½ oz (40 g) plain flour, sifted
 4 eggs, beaten
 2½ fl oz (65 ml) double cream
 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the compote of rhubarb and orange:
 1½ lb (700 g) trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1½-inch (4 cm) pieces
 grated zest and juice of 2 medium oranges
 4 oz (110 g) golden caster sugar
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375F, 190C.
You will need a 23 cm (9 inch) plain-edged flan ring with a loose base, greased and lined with greaseproof paper to come 2.5cm (1 inch) above the top of the flan ring, plus a baking tray for cooking the base.


Make the biscuit base. Cream the butter and sugar together in a food-mixer or with a hand-held electric whisk till white and fluffy. Still whisking, add the self-raising flour.

Spread the mixture thinly on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes till golden in colour. Leave it cool on a wire rack, then blitz the biscuit in a food processor. Press the crumbs evenly into the base of the lined flan ring. Reduce the oven temperature to gas mark 3, 300F, 150C.

Make the filling. In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese and crème fraiche with the caster sugar. Next beat in the plain flour, followed slowly by the eggs. When these have been incorporated, beat in the cream and vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and place on a baking tray in the lower half of the oven. Bake for 1 hour, by which time the cheesecake will be barely coloured; it should be just set firm on the outside but still quite wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for several hours to firm up.

Make the rhubarb compote. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350F, 180C. Place everything in a shallow baking dish, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender but still retains its shape. Leave it to cool before serving with the cheesecake.

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