Once upon a time I made the mistake of buying a 2 kilo/4 pound block of cream cheese. I actually thought that there were 8 blocks of cream cheese within it so I had plenty of time in which to use them but no, it was an enormous hulking block of cream cheese. Luckily I have friends who happen to love cheesecakes. And it was Belinda's birthday so I set about making one of her favourite things: a Turkish Delight rose flavoured cheesecake!
I was also feeling slightly guilty as I was overseas for her birthday and when I came back we met up where I gave her a present and a cake that I had baked her. I wanted to make a cake for her that suited her personality and her favourite things. Visually speaking, Belinda loves pink and rose flavoured things. She is also a fan of cheesecake and we were recently talking about how just aren't on board with the whole deconstructed cheesecake thing. We love sticking a fork into the tip of a cheesecake and then working our way through to the thicker end, ratios of cheese filling and cookie crumb perfectly regulated.
So this rose cheesecake would include three of her favourite things: 1. a good biscuit base (she adores good cookies I used a pistachio shortbread one) 2. Rose flavouring because she adores it and 3. Ricotta in the cheesecake because that is her favourite kind. I used a home made ricotta because I find it smoother than the kind you buy at the supermarket and smoothness is important in a cheesecake texture. I decorated it with a layer of pale pink rose jelly with little edible rose buds on top to bring the whole pink theme together.
But if you think Belinda is all about pretty pink and roses, she never fails to surprise me with a wilder side. We were talking about an upcoming concert that we were going to and she told me that quite a few years ago she flashed her boobs at a musician. Not any musician mind you, but Keanu Reeves when he toured Australia with his band Dog Star. In 1998!
"Were you wearing a bra?" I asked her laughing.
"NO!" she said. It was 1998 and well, she didn't need to wear a bra back then, then she explained laughing.
So tell me Dear Reader, are we over thinking the deconstructed cheesecake thing? What flavour cheesecake would reflect your personality? And I am going to ask this, but have you ever flashed your boobs at anyone famous or not famous? ;)
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Degree of difficulty: easy to medium
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 0 minutes
- 135g/4.77ozs. shortbread biscuits (I used cardamom and pistachio shortbread)
- 60g/2ozs. butter, melted
- 250g/8.83ozs. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 250g/8.83ozs. ricotta
- 1 cup icing or confectioners sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 3 teaspoons gelatin powder
- 2 teaspoons rose water
- 1 cup cream, whipped
- 1 cup water, divided
- 3 teaspoons gelatine powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- Pink colouring
- Edible roses
Step 1 - Line a 20cm/8inch springform tin on the base and sides. In a food processor, blitz the biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Empty into a bowl and add the butter and mix. Spread out onto the base of the prepared tin and press down into an even layer. Refrigerate until needed.
Step 2 - Clean and dry the food processor. Take a small microwave proof bowl and add the water. Sprinkle over the gelatine and allow to become set. Then microwave this for 20 seconds on full power until it is liquid and clearish (it will have a yellow tinge). Cool.
Step 3 - Add the cream cheese and ricotta to the food processor and process until very smooth. Add the sugar, cooled gelatin mixture and rose water. Then fold in the cream. Taste for flavour. If you want more rose water add it. Scoop into the tin on top of the biscuit base and jiggle it so that it is smooth (you can also smooth with an angled spatula). Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Step 4 - To make the rose layer, heat 1/2 a cup of water and dissolve in the sugar. Place the other 1/2 cup cold water in a microwave proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatine powder over this. Microwave for 20 seconds until all lumps are gone and it is liquid. Add to the sugar water and add in rosewater and some pink colouring. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (do not allow to set) and then gently pour over the cheesecake. Submerge some edible roses and suspend in the jelly.
Gelatine powder sprinkled over cold water
Gelatine once heated