Break up the biscuits and process them to fine crumbs in a food
processor (or crush them with a rolling pin). Place in a bowl, add the soft
butter, and stir well to combine. Butter the base of a non-stick 24-cm
springform cake tin, cover with clingfilm, and butter again. Tuck the edges of
the clingfilm under the base, and place it in its ring. Press the biscuit
mixture evenly onto the base of the tin and place in the fridge while you make
Put the water in a little heat-proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatine on top. Set
aside for a few minutes to sponge. Place the bowl in a pot of simmering water
(the water should come half-way up the sides) and stir occasionally as the
gelatine melts. When the liquid is clear, remove the bowl and set aside to cool
for a few minutes.
Put the cream cheese and half the buttermilk into a large bowl and, using a
whisk, beat until quite smooth. Beat in the remaining buttermilk, the caster
sugar, the vanilla extract and the lemon zest. In a separate bowl, whisk the
cream until thick and soft. Gently fold the cream into the cream
cheese/buttermilk mixture. Strain the warm gelatine into the bowl and mix well.
Pour the mixture over the crumb crust and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until
Now make the topping. Sponge and melt the gelatine and water, as described
above. Put the strawberries in a liquidiser, add a few tablespoons of caster
sugar (depending on the sweetness of your strawberries) and blitz to a purée.
Measure out a cup (250 ml) of this purée and to it add a few drops of lemon
juice. Strain the warm gelatine into the purée, stir well and pour it evenly
over the top of the cake. Refrigerate until set.
Warm the sides of the tin (as described below) and release the cake. Slide a
palette knife between the crust and the clingfilm, turning the cake as you go,
and then slide the cake onto a platter. Slice the cake using a knife dipped in
Makes one 24-cm cake
There are various methods of loosening a gelatine-set dessert from its mould.
Professional chefs use a blowtorch, which is briefly flicked over the outside
of the tin, but this is a risky business, as a few seconds too long can liquefy
the outside of the cheesecake and, besides, it's useless if you're using a
plastic jelly mould. A better way is to dip a kitchen cloth in boiling water,
and press it to outside of the cold tin for a few seconds. But the best way of
all, I've found, is to use a hot pack designed for soothing aching muscles.
Reprinted with permission of Scrumptuous South Africa.
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