Sometimes I sit for hours scouring the internet, desperately clawing for an idea that might take my fancy. I flick through practically new cook books I’ve never used. Shut the book, empty-handed and empty minded, only to remember why I didn’t ever use them before.
Other times, like this sweet time, an idea drifts out of nowhere and flutters into my lap. I stumble upon a thought or, most likely, my appetite leads me to something I don’t often eat. I love creating something I haven’t made in a while. I’m struck with a new feeling of vigour and I relish in my precious time in the kitchen. My little escape.
Nothing makes my mouth water more than an indulgent slice of sugary temptation.
Sitting there like bait. Something that has a humble, rustic quality to it. Something that I don’t worry about eating and basically ruining because it’s too pretty. I read a quote recently that resonated with me; a quote I couldn’t agree more with.
‘Real food means big-flavoured unpretentious cooking. Good ingredients made into something worth eating. Just nice, uncomplicated food.’ – Nigel Slater
Cherries are glistening on the supermarket shelves at the moment. Aren’t you just immediately drawn to their wine stained skin? Take advantage of this beautiful fruit while it’s at it’s best and pair it with this creamy chocolate hazelnut cheesecake. I’m going to be honest and admit that I ate well over half of this by myself. No regrets and no shame. It was bloody worth it.
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson
- 125g digestive biscuits
- 75g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 75g hazelnuts
- 185g dark chocolate, chopped
- 500g cream cheese
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 150ml sour cream
- 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp. hot water
- 300g cherries
- 80g caster sugar
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. cornflour
For the Cheesecake Base:
- Place the digestives, cocoa powder and hazelnuts into a food processor. Add in the melted butter and process until you’re left with fine crumbs. Tip the biscuit base into a 23cm springform tin. Using your hands, press the crumb into the base of the tin in an even layer. Place the tin into the freezer while you make the filling (this will stop any loose crumbs travelling into the filling later.)
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Beat the cream cheese in a bowl to soften. Stir in the sugar. Next beat in the eggs, egg yolks and sour cream. Dissolve the cocoa powder with the 1 tbsp. of hot water. Add this to the cheese mix as well as the cooled melted chocolate. Mix together until smooth.
- Take the biscuit base from the freezer and boil the kettle. Line the outside of the springform tin with cling film and aluminium foil to prevent any water seeping into your cheesecake when baking in the water bath.
- Place your cheesecake tin into a large roasting pan. Pour the filling on top of the base and level. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the side of the cheesecake tin.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of your cheesecake should wobble slightly in the middle.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and take off the cling film and aluminium foil. Place on a cooling rack. Run a sharp knife around the top edge of the cheesecake to prevent it from cracking on the surface.
- Once cool, remove from the tin and leave to chill overnight in the fridge.
For the Cherry Compote:
- Cut the cherries in half and remove the stones.
- Place into a saucepan over low heat. Combine the sugar and cornflour. Add this to the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave to bubble for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The compote should be thick and glossy.
- Leave to cool.
- Spoon over the chilled cheesecake and serve.