I had a few people round to watch The Apprentice so I made this cheesecake that was in ‘Sweet’ by Yotam Ottolenghi which is a really great dessert book, packed with beautiful looking desserts with intriguing flavours. I felt that the cheesecake was worthy of a night spent watching this series of the Apprentice, where they’ve once again outdone themselves in finding the most arrogant people living in the UK. Is it horrible to like watching these people fail? I don’t often eat figs as it’s so hard to get them fresh in this country and this was my first time in trying dried figs which I actually prefer. Whisking the egg whites up makes the cheesecake light. I was too lazy here to put greaseproof paper around the outside of the cake tin but if you do that then it should be a lot neater than mine.
- 100g digestive biscuits (graham crackers if you live in the US)
- 80g walnuts
- 60g butter
- 250g dried figs
- 250ml orange juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 500g cream cheese
- 500g mascarpone
- 250g caster sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
1.) Line a 23cm springform tin with baking parchment. If you do around the sides, you need to do 5cm above the rim.
2.) Blitz the digestive biscuits until nearly fine crumbs, then add the walnuts and blitz a little bit more so they have some small chunks.
3.) Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, add the biscuits and nuts and mix everything.
4.) Press the mixture into the tin with a spatula. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5.) Chop up the figs, discarding the stalks. Add to a small pan with the orange juice and the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes to a thick liquid. Leave to cool. Then take the cinnamon stick out and spread over the base and return to the fridge.
6.) Preheat the oven before you start to make the filling.
7.) In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla.
8.) Zest the orange and add the zest to the filling.
9.) Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the cream cheese. Beat all of this with an electric whisk until smooth.
10.) In another bowl, whisk up the egg whites to stiff peaks.
11.) Fold a third of the egg whites into the cream cheese. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
12.) Take the springform pan out of the fridge and wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray and pour in the filling.
13.) Bake for 75 – 80 minutes. If you see it going brown, put some foil over the top but not too early as you don’t want the foil to stick as the cake rises.
14.) The cake should have a slight wobble but not look liquidy when done. Take out and leave to cool to room temperature. Wrap in cling film, move to the fridge and leave for at least 4 hours. (It can keep up to 2 days at this point).
15.) Take out the fridge, remove the springform collar, serve in slices.