Spring Recipes
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Raw Strawberry Cheese Cake

In catholic Belgium May is a month for weddings, communions and confirmations. With unusual serendipity a four day week-end break coincided with a sunny and clement spell of weather. Over this period we celebrated a wedding anniversary, an 18th birthday party, a communion and mother’s day! So many celebrations call for a special, festive cake and I think this raw, strawberry cheese cake ticks all the right boxes!

Tip: don’t skimp on the gelatine. The strawberries add quite some juice and the gelatine is necessary to hold it all together. Agar works as well but, to my mind, delivers a less pleasing texture.

Ingredients

Suitable for 23-26 cm sprung tin.

For the base

250 gr of dry biscuit[1] (digestive, shortbread, speculaas)

80 gr. melted butter

For the filling

300-400 gr. home-made cream cheese

250 ml. cream

500 gr. strawberries

5 eggs (separated)

3 packets powdered gelatine

120 gr. sugar

Seasonal berries to decorate

Method

Day 1

Prepare the cream cheese. 1 lt. of yoghurt renders approx. 300-400 gr. cream cheese depending on how much whey is expressed.

Day 2

Pulse the biscuits in the food blender until they’ve turned to fine crumbs. Mix together with the melted butter and spread them evenly over the base of a sprung tin.

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For the filling

Hull half of strawberries and blend them together with the cream and sugar in a food blender. Whisk together with the cream cheese until smooth.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Beat the egg yokes together with the powdered gelatine (add some extra cream or milk if it’s too thick) and gently heat, making sure not to scramble the eggs, until the gelatine has melted. When ready add to the eggs and gelatine mixture to the cream-cheese mix.

Finally gently fold in the stiffened egg whites into the cream cheese.

Pour half the mixture over the biscuit base. Cover with the remaining strawberries plus any extra seasonal berries you have and arrange them over the surface before pouring the remaining strawberry cream-cheese over the top.

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Leave to rest in the fridge until the cake has set – anywhere from five to six hours.

Decorate the top with the seasonal berries.

[1] You can use commercial biscuits if you don’t have any home made ones in the house but bear in mind that most commercial, branded biscuits are made with hydrogenated rape seed oil and isoglucose. Try and see if you can find an all butter biscuit which has no vegetable oils or sugar “syrups” listed on their ingredients. This can be tricky – even health-food shops and organic varieties rely on vegetable oils and sugar syrups to as cheap ingredients to make a profit.

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