Brûléed cheesecake

Creamy, lightly spiced and with a crisp topping, this cheesecake will round off any autumnal dinner. The demerara sugar in the base provides extra crunch. 

  • Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and chilling
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes, plus cooling and chilling

Serves: 12

Ingredients

BISCUIT BASE
100g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
250g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
4 tbsp demerara sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 egg yolk, beaten

CHEESECAKE FILLING
½ lemon, zest
2 x 250g tubs essential Waitrose full fat soft cheese, room temperature
125g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 eggs, beaten
200ml full fat crème fraîche

BRULEE TOPPING
2 tbsp golden caster sugar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed, deep cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Mix the digestives, butter, demerara sugar and ginger until evenly mixed. Use a straight-sided glass to press the crumbs evenly across the base of the tin and 3cm up the sides. Bake on a flat baking sheet for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Brush the egg yolk over the biscuit shell, then bake for 3 minutes more to seal.

2. Put the lemon zest, soft cheese, sugar, cornflour and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well with a spatula. Work in the eggs until smooth, then fold in the crème fraîche.

3. Pour the filling over the base. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven to 140˚C, gas mark 1, and bake for 45 minutes more, or until set with a gentle wobble. Leave in the turned-off oven with the door ajar for 1 hour, then loosen the edges with a palette knife and cool completely. Chill well.

4. Remove the tin; dab away any moisture from the top of the cake. Scatter the sugar over the top. With a kitchen blowtorch, brûlée until the sugar turns deep coppery brown. Serve as soon as you can.