Thursday, 10 May 2012

Rhubarb Cheesecake: Seasonal Recipe


My last visit to Holt Farm was as a guest of Yeo Valley and the day included a fab cookery demonstration courtesy of Jaime, their head chef who conjures up the wonderful food at the garden's cafe.

We were shown how to make sourdough bread, tea smoked trout, and rhubarb cheesecake. We also got to eat the results, so I can vouch for their scrumminess. Each item on the menu included a technique I hadn't come across before, or one which I'd been wanting to try.

For the rhubarb cheesecake Jaime showed us how to make curd cheese from yoghurt. I had no idea how simple it is to do and with a glut of juicy rhubarb around on the allotment at the moment, I've been having a go at home :)

I've adapted Jaime's recipe into a lower fat version, so my cheesecake is still a treat, but your stomach's not grumbling about coping with the digestion overload you've just given it. You of course, may choose to go with the original recipe!

Ingredients

500ml natural yoghurt (Jaime used 0% fat Yeo Valley yoghurt which was new to me)
200ml half fat creme fraiche (instead of the double cream Jaime used)
140g digestive biscuits (approx 8)
50g low fat spread (I used Benecol instead of butter)
Freshly picked rhubarb - the longest, thinnest sticks (i.e. most tender) you can find
Orange juice (I used Orange, Mango and Passion Fruit which worked well)
Icing sugar to taste
Your choice of sugar for poaching the rhubarb (if needed)

Method


For the curd cheese -
start 24 hours prior to making the cheese cake
  1. Line a sieve with a clean cloth such as muslin or J-cloth
  2. Suspend over a clean jug and pour in all the yoghurt
  3. Transfer to the fridge and leave to drain for 24 hours
For the rhubarb compote
  1. Trim ends off about 8-10 sticks of rhubarb, chop into small pieces and add to a pan
  2. Add a good splash of orange juice - you're looking to add enough to allow the rhubarb to break down and poach in its own liquid and for the juice to sweeten the rhubarb to take the 'edge' off its acidity without dominating the flavour
  3. Gradually bring to the boil and then simmer for around 10 minutes
  4. Taste for sweetness and add and dissolve sugar to taste - if your rhubarb is very tender you may not need any
  5. Allow the rhubarb to cool
To make the cheesecake base
  1. Melt the low fat spread in a bowl (I whizzed mine in the microwave for 30 seconds)
  2. Add the biscuits, roughly crumbling them as you do so
  3. Stir the biscuit crumbs and spread together, ensuring any large pieces of biscuit are broken down as you do so. Don't worry about making everything fine crumbs, a mix of large and small makes for an interesting texture
  4. Grease a small quiche dish and add the biscuit mixture (Jaime uses a 23cm spring form cake tin instead)
  5. Press everything down well ready for adding the cheese

To make the cheese and the base for the rhubarb
  1. Transfer the drained yoghurt (which is now your curd cheese) to another bowl - keep the liquid whey in the jug for using in e.g. sourdough bread
  2. Add the creme fraiche and mix well together
  3. Add icing sugar and mix well to taste - Jaime's recipe uses 2 tablespoons, but I found we needed far less
  4. Spoon evenly over the cheesecake base
  5. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins
To serve (serves 8)
  1. Divide the cheesecake into portions onto serving plates or bowls
  2. Spoon over the rhubarb compote as shown in the top picture - you will probably have some compote left over for another day. Alternatively you can marble the compote through the cheese mixture when making it, but you will need a bigger dish than the one I used
  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!
This would work well with any seasonal soft fruit you have available :)

5 comments:

  1. Perfect timing - I got some rhubarb from my parents garden yesterday.

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  2. That looks, and sounds, delicious but sadly beyond my culinary skills! Flighty xx

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  3. That looks just delicious

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  4. Yum! Sounds really easy to do too. I've been wanting to try cheesemaking so that looks like a simple way to start.

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  5. I made curd cheese like this for the first time last year, but used it as a savoury soft cheese by making into golf sized balls and rolling in fresh chopped herbs - delicious. I hadn't thought of using it for cheesecake - great idea.

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