We are in day 31 of quarantine here in Spain. On Monday, the government allowed construction and factory workers to return to their jobs. As a result, the bird song has been interrupted by leaf blowers and drills.
Overall, quarantine life has been alright. When I think about how I will look back on this period, it will be as one in which I connected with my family profoundly. I cook every day and bake every 3 days. Usually something with chocolate. I’ve discovered my DIY / self-improvement gene is underdeveloped. Only yesterday, day 30 did I download an exercise app. Maybe despite my best efforts, I am lazy at heart.
I wanted to share a cheesecake recipe with you. It comes from The Baking Book written by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich who have a deli called Honey & Co in London. They both used to work for the famous Ottolenghi group and at some point, Itamar worked at Nopi. Despite a brief 5-day stint of working for the Notting Hill branch of Ottolenghi, I’ve always found their recipes too fussy to recreate at home. The Honey & Co recipes, on the other hand, are easy enough to recreate but still special enough to stand out. And because these are recipes that have been made countless times, they work if you follow the instructions.
They have 6 cheesecakes in their book and besides this one, the other one I love is the Butternut Squash & Spice cheesecake. The original Nutella cheesecake recipe has a hazelnut base and a praline garnish. I use a classic digestive biscuit base instead and skip the garnish because I find it doesn’t enhance the Nutella cheesecake enough to be worth the effort.
Nutella Cheesecake from Honey & Co The Baking Book
40g unsalted butter
250g digestive biscuits
375g full fat cream cheese
200g caster sugar
60g double cream (minimum 35% fat)
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp ground coffee beans
200g soured cream
100g melted chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 180*C / 160*C fan
2. Line a loose-bottomed 23-centimetre tin with baking parchment.
3. Crush the biscuits so that you have coarse crumbs. Either in a food processor or in a bowl with the bottom of a rolling pin. Melt the butter and add to the crumbs. Tip the mixture into your tin and spread around to cover the base. Don’t compact it too much. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
4. For the filling, in a mixer or in a bowl with a large spoon. You don’t want to use a whisk or beat it for too long because you will introduce too much air into the mix and your cake might collapse after baking.
5. Combine the cream cheese, sugar and cream on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time.
6. Add the Nutella, cornflour and coffee and mix until combined.
7. Pour over the base and bake for 25-30 minutes. It should have a good jiggle in the centre half and just be puffing up on the sides. (If it cracks in the middle you’ve gone for too long, remember, it will continue to set at room temperature and in the fridge.) Cool for 10 minutes.
8. In the meantime, melt the milk chocolate over a bain-marie or in short bursts in the microwave. Mix the sour cream and melted chocolate. Pour over the top of the baked cheesecake making sure not to pour it all in one spot so it doesn’t sink through the cheesecake. Spread around evenly and then bake for a further 10 minutes or until shiny.
9. When cooked, cool in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
More Baking Recipes on the Blog:
Fiona Cairns Chocolate Beetroot Cake
Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake
Gluten-Free Orange Cake with chocolate and almonds