Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and he requested this lovely cheesecake for birthday cake. It’s a recipe my mother-in-law Pauline gave me when Steve and I were first married and it has become something of an identity marker for our little family, a tradition that we’ve made our own for special celebrations. What we have always loved about this chilled cheesecake, is the light but creamy texture of the filling that comes from not using gelatine and its faint taste of lemon. And it’s so versatile flavour-wise: yesterday we enjoyed it topped with fresh mango pieces and raspberry sauce and in the past it’s been lovely with drizzled melted chocolate on top. These extra serving options are totally unnecessary though, because the cheesecake is just delightful all by itself. There are a couple of simple but essential tricks to making this cheesecake successfully: the first is not to forget the fresh lemon juice – it’s what makes the filling set and unfortunately, this won’t happen if you replace it with lemon squeeze either; and the second is not use lite versions of cream, cream cheese or condensed milk – the setting factor of the filling is determined by interaction of the citric acid, fat and sugar content. But with these factors in mind, this cheesecake is super simple to make because it doesn’t require baking, and cost-effective because it easily serves 10-12 people – Pauline’s cheesecake costs around $10 to make.
- 250g cream cheese, full fat, softened to room temperature
- 1 x 395g tin sweetened condensed milk, full fat, (home brand is fine)
- 300ml thickened cream, full fat
- 1 x 250g packet of Nice biscuits
- 190g butter, melted
- Juice of 1 fresh lemon, yielding 60ml of juice
- Select a loose-bottomed pie tin or springform cake tin, 20-25 cm in diameter and spray lightly with canola spray.
- Place biscuits into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until a rough crumb. The biscuits need to be well and truly crushed, but don’t go too fine with them. Remove blade and add melted butter, mixing through. Using clean hands and spoon for pressing down firmly, place biscuit mixture into the tin to form the base, which should come up the sides 3/4 of the tins height. Place in freezer to set.
- Using electric beaters, beat the cream cheese to a paste, continue mixing and add the condensed milk. When thoroughly combined, continue mixing and add the cream and lemon juice. Beat a little longer to ensure the mixture is well-combined. Remove the now set base from the freezer and gently fill the base with creamy filling. Place the cheesecake in the fridge for 4-6 hours to set.