Valentine’s Lemon Cheesecake

By Resident Chef: Harvey Pincis

 

When I bought the pan, I was mentally calculating how much Cretan cheese I had, trying to regulate portion sizes and square the circle between not an overly dessert person with missing cheesecake I found this heart shaped pan in Sultan (TSC), which is 25 x 25 cms at its widest point and a 4 cm depth in Sultan.

 

This cheese was from Crete and quite unlikely to found in any shop here in Kuwait, but Kiri or the like, while not being the same is the nearest equivalent I know that could work. My much better half has used Kiri in the past with great results, but soft Cretan cheese – come to that Cretan olive oil or honey is something seriously to buy up if one is visiting and has the chance. I also don’t want to overload on sugars so do exercise potion control and the citrus rush is something that appeals and mitigates against the sugars. 

 

To assemble the dish – it is a cold dessert and not a cooked cheesecake, crush a 250g. pack of digestive biscuits very well as the basis of the ‘pastry’ once the base is crushed and add 100g of softened butter, a teaspoon of caster sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix and combine well. Once done, set aside in the fridge for 2 hours. 

 

Once the base is ready, press the mixture into the base and sides very well, so the mix is compact. 

 

While the base is chilling, mix 400g, of creamy semi-sweet cheese with 200g. Greek yoghurt, ¾ cup of caster sugar, ½ tsp of vanilla essence, though better if you can use proper vanilla seeds plus the juice of a lemon.

 

Beat and combine this mix well, pour the mix into the empty base and refrigerate for 6 hours or more. The best test for deciding when ready is to prick the cheese mix with a toothpick and if the toothpick emerges clean, the cheesecake is ready. Otherwise, leave for longer.

 

To garnish, any soft fruit can work as a topping or indeed honey, in this case Egyptian strawberries. The authentic Cretan cheese is made for a marriage in heaven with honey and is most commonly prepared in filo pastry parcels combined with honey.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

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