Recipe of the Week - Dark Chocolate and Cherry Cheesecake

Kirsten Gilmour is the owner and head chef at Aviemore’s Mountain Café. This recipe is an extract from her new book, The Mountain Café Cookbook: a Kiwi in the Cairngorms.

We came up with this recipe so we could offer veggie-friendly cheesecakes that didn’t use gelatine or eggs. The result is incredibly light, chocolatey and rich with a real feel of decadence.

Serves 8–10

for the base:

300g digestive biscuits

100g unsalted butter, melted

for the cheesecake:

300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

120g double cream

375g cream cheese

60g sour cream

50g caster sugar

250ml double cream, whipped

4 tablespoons kirsch brandy

150g tinned pitted cherries, drained, plus a handful for the top

grated chocolate for the top

20cm springform cake tin

Grease your cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

Method:

Grind your digestives to a fine crumb in a food processor (or put them in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin). Put the biscuit crumbs into a mixing bowl and pour over the melted butter, then mix by hand until the butter is thoroughly mixed in. Tip this into the prepared tin and press it down to make a firm, even base. Pop in the fridge to set while you get the rest of the filling sorted.

Place your chocolate and double cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt them together over the lowest possible heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the chocolate is melted and the cream fully incorporated, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool.

Put the cream cheese, sour cream and caster sugar into a mixing bowl and beat firmly until combined. In another bowl, whip your cream to soft peaks.

Pour the melted chocolate over the cream cheese, then fold in the whipped cream and kirsch until everything is evenly mixed, smooth and glossy. Stir your cherries through, then pour the filling over the base and smooth out evenly in the tin. Decorate with some more cherries and a bit of grated chocolate. Leave the cheesecake to set in the fridge for at least four hours before you take it out of the tin.

• If you are gluten or wheat free, use appropriate biscuits for the crumb.

• Don’t add the chocolate ganache to the cream cheese mix while it’s still hot – let it cool a little.

• Take care not to over-whip your cream or the cheesecake won’t be as smooth. If it does go grainy and stiff, loosen the mix with a little un-whipped double cream.

• Try this out with other fruits; it’s great using berries instead of the cherries.

• You can easily make this a white chocolate cheesecake: just use 320g best quality white chocolate and reduce the double cream to 90ml, and keep all the other ingredients the same. You will need towhip the cream a little stiffer to help the cheesecake set.

• This will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

The Mountain Cafe Cookbook: A Kiwi in the Cairngorms

Published by The Kitchen Press, £20