Baked White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake

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I recently went to a Christmas Cookery Demonstration fundraiser for my daughters school delivered by Phelim Byrne, a very well known local chef who also makes TV appearances as well as running the kitchens at Naas Golf Club, Wexford Race Course and running major events at Horetown house. He was FULL of brilliant Christmas cooking and short cut tips and tricks as he went through the Christmas meal course by course. I will be trying out many of his suggestions but his baked cheesecake HAD to be made and sampled before Christmas, just for research of course. He declared, nay practically BRAGGED that it was the very lightest ever baked chesecake, which he argued and I’d agree, can often be heavy and cloying. He presented it with Christmas  Pudding broken up in the base as a nod to the festive season (and it’s also the reason I’ve added it to the Christmas and Thanksgiving Category)  but it was his white chocolate and raspberry version that made me sit up and take note. Literally. And I will agree – this is the lightest baked cheesecake I have every tasted – it must be the addition of whipped egg whites? A word of warning, it cracked quite badly on the top (which to be fair he said it would), but he suggested putting a thin layer of whipped cream on top and sprayed it with Gold – YES! I finally get to spray stuff gold & then eat it!!

INGREDIENTS

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200g Digestive Biscuits (he suggested Hob Nobs can replace & add a lovely oaty crunch)

90g butter melted

1 punnet raspberries (2 if you want to decorate the top with them too)

575g Cream cheese

1 packets White chocolate buttons

160g Castor sugar

1 vanilla Pod (or splash vanilla essence)

4 whole eggs

2 egg whites beaten to soft peaks

PREPARATION

  • Mix the biscuit crumbs and melted butter and place inj a lightly buttered loose bottomed tin.

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  • Beat the cheese, eggs, vanilla & sugar together.

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  • Whip the two egg whites and fold gently into the cheese mixture.

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  • Pour half into the tin. Add the raspberries & white chocolate buttons. Then add the rest of the cream cheese mixture. (I forgot this step, poured all the cheese mixture in then tipped the raspberries and chocolate on top.)

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  • Bake at 170C for approx 45 minutes (mine took a definite 50) until just set.
  • Cool completely then remove carefully from the tin. Cover with whipped cream and if I’d remembered to buy enough, I’d have covered the top with raspberries also.
  • As a nod to Christmas, I sprayed the outside crust Gold! No real reason to, I just couldn’t wait to use the Gold Spray!

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FINAL NOTE: Phelim suggested and I now totally agree that this cheesecake does not improve by being put in the fridge. Leave it out, eat it – even leave it overnight if it lasts that long and its Winter but as soon as you cool it in the fridge, it will start to taste heavy and a little stodgy. We didn’t have that problem as it didn’t last overnight.

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