My grandma has taken me fruit picking for as long as I can remember so it was lovely to take my cousin, who will be one next month, along with us this year. I live in Essex, which despite what you may have seen on TV is actually quite rural in most parts and there are a huge number of farms offering all kinds of fruit and veg.
We went to Cammas Hall, in Hatfield Broad Oak (in the direction of Takely) which is such a lovely farm. It has rows and rows of fruit and also the option to pick onions and sweetcorn. The main barn is now a tea room and on a nice day you can sit in the picnic area outside or under the marquee.
We came back with so much fruit that I needed a recipe to use some of it up and this one took me no time at all, besides the 2 hours you need for cooling. For the fellow vegetarians out there, this recipe is also gelatine free but sets amazingly due to the lemon juice so I will be using this topping for any cheesecakes from now on. The quantities below fill 4 10cm tins. If you want to make one big cheesecake, simply double the quantities and use a 20cm round tin.
100g digestive biscuits, crushed
50g butter, melted
150g full fat soft cheese
½ tin of 379g Carnation condensed milk
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Handful of strawberries and raspberries, for decoration
1) Put the biscuits in a sandwich bag and crush with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat then combine the butter and biscuit crumbs in a bowl.
2) Transfer the mixture evenly between the tins and push down with a metal spoon. Pop in the fridge for 10 minutes.
3) While you wait you can make the topping, put the soft cheese and condensed milk in a bowl and combine with a hand whisk. The mixture will be very runny, but don’t worry as it thickens as soon as you stir in the lemon juice. Finally stir in the vanilla extract and then use a spoon to add the topping to the biscuit bases.
4) Chill for another 2 hours in the fridge and then decorate with the fresh fruit when you are ready to serve them. Tip – these set quickly as they were small however if you make one big cheesecake I would refrigerate them for another 2 hours or even overnight to ensure the topping is completely set in the middle.
Besides the cooling times these took me about 10 minutes to make so they are perfect if you don’t have time on the day to make anything as you can whip them up the night before. I also popped another handful of raspberries in the blender and added some agave nectar (or you could use honey) to get rid of the sharpness and to make them look a bit more colourful.
You can find my other summer fruits cupcake recipe here:
Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes