YOU’LL BE hard pressed to find a shop or deli-bought cheesecake that doesn’t contain egg, let alone wheat or nuts. But it’s actually really simple to knock up an allergy-friendly alternative that tastes just as good… and maybe even better.
I first made this recipe, just before Sid was born, for my husband’s birthday. (I’m not a mental baker, but I was six months pregnant and we weren’t going out on the razzle so I decided a cake would be a substitute – albeit a poor one!). I’ve adapted it here for Sidney using Tru Free digestives, which are egg, nut, wheat and gluten free.
I made two versions: vanilla and strawberry, and a zingy lemon. Next time I think I’ll try a plain soft cheese, with grated Kinnerton chocolate over the top.
250g Tru Free digestive biscuits – Try Waitrose or Whole Foods
100g unsalted butter – I use unsalted just so it’s toddler friendly
One vanilla pod
600g soft cheese – I use Sainsbury’s SO Organic soft cheese as it contains nothing but milk
125g Tate & Lyle icing sugar – rival brands such as Silver Spoon contain egg trace warnings
284ml pot double cream – infuriatingly Sainsbury’s SO Organic double cream contains a ‘nut trace’ warning – FFS – so I plumped for the bog standard version
400g punnet fresh strawberries
(For the lemon version: 2 unwaxed lemons)
1 x 23cm loose-bottomed baking tin
Blender or food processor
Butter and line the tin with baking paper.
Crush 250g of digestives in a plastic bag, using a rolling pin. Tip the crumbs into a mixing bowl and pour over 100g of melted butter. Mix to coat the crumbs.
Tip into the tin and press down across the base using the back of a large spoon or your knuckles, until flat and firmly packed. Pop in the fridge for at least one hour to chill and harden.
Slice the vanilla pod in half lengthways and use a knife to scrape out the seeds.
Place the soft cheese, 100g of the icing sugar and the vanilla seeds in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add 284ml of double cream and continue beating to combine thoroughly.
Spoon the mixture over the biscuit base, ensuring there are no gaps or air bubbles, and smooth down with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Put in the fridge overnight to set.
Puree 200g of strawberries with 25g icing sugar and 1tsp of water in a blender then sieve to remove pips.
When the cheesecake is ready to serve, either pile or slice the remaining fresh strawberries on top and pour over the puree.
Ditch the vanilla and strawberries and instead beat the zest and juice of two lemons into the soft cheese mix.