Food novice, Jamie Hoyle, tries his hand at making cheesecake this week. We’re not going to lie, it looks nothing like the one above….
So far this column has been too one-dimensional. I apologise. What’s the point of a nutritious main course if it can’t be complemented by an eloquent dessert? What’s the point of a ferocious drive if you can’t putt the ball in hole? What’s the point of driving from Exeter to John O’Groats if you can’t park the car? Okay that last analogy was a little dubious but you get my point. Currently my menu provokes a quick McFlurry drop in on the way home.
Alas, this dessert bigotry is no more.
This week everyone’s favourite Imperial dessert, or at least mine, cheesecake will be attempted. And I stress, attempted. The recipe is not Jamie Oliver’s or BBC’s or Patak’s, but that of my trusty friend from home Will – a pudding enthusiast, connoisseur; even pioneer some would say. Before this, I took his pudding advice as gospel, presumably taken from the great pudding God, Tirami-zeus (that’s the only hideous gag). Remember this, for my high praise will fade, dramatically.
I followed his recipe to the letter. To the millimetre on the water. To the gram on the mascarpone cheese. To the second on the oven timings. To the degree on the oven temperature. Will someone please explain to me then how my ‘cheesecake’ therefore resembled that high energy, minimal taste cereal bar compulsory in every Duke of Edinburgh doggy bag? I could have cried.
Shall get the boring bit that actually went right over quickly then? The base involved smashing digestives and ginger nuts up in the ratio 5:7 (immensely satisfying) before adding the broken mix to a pan with 60g of melted butter. This was then placed on the baking tray and baked for 10 minutes at 180°. Lovely. Let that cool down. No problems.
Whilst that is cooling grab a mixing bowl and mix 500g of mascarpone cheese with the zest of one lemon, the juice of that lemon and an egg. As my friend lovingly pointed out, taste test your mixture before putting your egg in so you don’t get salmonella. Delicious. Everything was going to plan. Whisk that up until it’s fairly runny and you’re ready to go. Pour that all over your buttery biscuit base.
Now then, and I’m not angry (I’m disappointed), but what happened next, under the cooking instructions of my expert in puddings, all but obliterated my hard work in 40 short minutes. 40 did seem a lot to put that in the oven to bake but who am I of all people to question how one cooks. As I sat patiently playing Crossy Road, little did I know that my cheesecake was blacking up the inside of the oven. I checked it at 20 minutes and it was starting to resemble a lasagne yet again, who am I to question? I left it for the allotted 40.
It was completely burnt around the edges. I’d been let down. All I can imagine is that he leant on the ‘4’ key and not the ‘2’ when he typed out this recipe for me. 20 would have been plenty.
The Raspberry Coulee
For the coulee bit on the top I melted down half a punnet of fresh raspberries in a pan. I was told to do this until it was syrupy in texture but it never seemed to get to this state so really I just covered the top of the ‘cheesecake’ in mushy raspberry. Negligible. I then decorated it with the rest of the raspberries, giving my monstrosity a chickenpox vibe.
Just look at the end result. Look at it. It’s meant to be a cheesecake. It’s hideous. At least all my recipes to date on this column have at least looked okay. Needless to say it has been sat in my fridge for the best part of a week, untouched (other than the mouthful I had of it) and still with the post it note on it inviting anyone to ‘help themselves to it’. That offer has not been taken up. How do I describe the taste? Umm…insipid, dull and thoroughly unpleasant.
2 hours of baking for that. Just wait until I see you next Will. Just wait.
Jamie Hoyle, Food Columnist
All images featured are the columnist’s own.
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