Friday, 21 March 2014

Lime Cheesecake

I love going to someone's house for dinner.  You feel so much more relaxed than when you go to a resturant, you don't have to be out at a certain time, it's easier for babysitters and it doesn't have to mean a ton of work for the host either if everyone chips in!
We recently got invited to James and Sasha's for dinner.  Well, I say invited.  What really happened was I invited them to us, they thought it would be easier for their baby if we came to them (no hassle organising a babysitter and whilst Ashley could sleep in a travel cot at our house he would still get disturbed when they went home).  This resulted in a change of venue to their place.

I feel like I just invited myself over and asked them to feed me.

At the very least I could offer to bring dessert.  They took me up on this which then led to the challenge of narrowing down what I wanted to make. 
I got back in contact with Sasha and found out what we were eating.  Chinese style with an Indonesian twist.


About all I could think of to do in that category was Burbur Sum-Sum but I wasn't convinced it would travel well as normally you make it just before serving!  James and Sasha live just one street over from us, so I also needed something that I could physically carry to their place in one piece.   

Instead I started thinking about the flavours that would be prevalent and realised that I could work a dessert around lime and ginger, even if the finished product is not strictly speaking traditional to the Indonesian area!

Key Lime Pie immediately came to mind.
I don't have any Key Limes so thought I would make a Lime Cheesecake with a chocolate and ginger base to contrast against the sharpness of the lime.   This is a cheesecake without any cheese as well, so maybe it's more of a Lime Pie? 

This pie is a bit much for 4 people and would quite happily feed 8.  We tucked in after a wonderful meal cooked by James and there were some appreciative noises around the table - I think people liked it!

Zest and juice of 5 limes plus 1 lime for decoration
1 tin condensed milk (397g is the ideal size and is the standard Nestle tin)
3 medium egg yolks
2 tablespoons good quality dark chocolate powder (I used one by Hotel Chocolate)
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
150g good quality ginger biscuits (you want the bite)
150g dark chocolate biscuits (I used McVities Dark Chocolate Digestives)
150g unsalted butter (melted)
300ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 160C.

Relieve some tension by putting the biscuits in a strong bag and hitting them repeatedly with a rolling pin or other heavy blunt object.  You could of course crumb them in a blender, but where's the fun in that?
Mix the biscuit crumbs with the dark chocolate powder, ground ginger and melted butter and press the mixture into a greased baking tray (a foil disposable one is useful for this dish as you can cut it away without risk of the crust breaking.  If you use a traditional baking tray, line it with greaseproof paper).

Bake blind for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool.  Leave the oven on.

Beat the egg yolks with an electric whisk for 1 minute until light (you could use a regular hand whisk but this will take a while and make your arm hurt), add the tin of condensed milk and beat for a further 3 minutes.

Add the zest and juice of the limes and beat for another 3 minutes (are you seeing the need for the electric whisk now?).  Pour the topping into the cooled base and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove, cool and then put in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.

When set, beat the cream and icing sugar together until thickened and lightly set.  Pile onto the middle of the pie or pipe around the edges.  Scatter with more lime zest and slices of lime in the middle to decorate or use curls of chocolate or anything that takes your fancy!

Chow down - good for American or Asian dinner parties.  Or British. Or African. Or Caribbean....

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