Strawberry & vanilla cheesecakes with burnt sugar crust & macerated strawberries

A light and fragrant cheesecake with a twist

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Recipe by: Jody Spencer

Dessert
Ingredients

For the base

  • 100g Hobnobs, crushed
  • 40g unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ tsp mixed spice

For the filling

  • 2 medium egg yolks
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 15g cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • 2 gelatine leaves
  • 200ml milk
  • 400ml double cream
  • 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar for crust topping
  • Strawberries for decorating

For the macerated strawberries

  • 1 punnet of strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2g fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Small pinch of salt

Method

  1. Brush the insides of the moulds. (I used 7.5cm ring mould). with a little vegetable oil and line with greaseproof paper. Place onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and place into the freezer.
  2. To macerate the strawberries, put them into a bowl with the vinegar, sugar, mint and salt. Leave to marinate for 1 hour in the fridge.In a mixing bowl, stir the melted butter into the biscuit crumbs and mixed spice. Divide the biscuit base between the moulds and press down well to give an even layer.
  3. Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and set aside until ready to use. Heat the milk until just before boiling point, take off the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds together in a small bowl with a hand-held beater. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Sieve the mixture back into a clean saucepan and heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until thickened. Test by running your finger across the back of the spoon: if the line holds then the mixture is thick enough. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and whisk them thoroughly into the hot custard. Set aside for a few minutes to cool down.
  6. Remove the biscuit bases from the freezer. Slice the strawberries for decorating into slices and carefully place on the inside of the moulds on top of the biscuit base, cut side facing outwards.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream into soft peaks. Mix a large spoonful into the custard and mix well. Then gently fold the remaining double cream though the custard until smooth, taking care not to knock the air out of the cream.

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