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We had a friend over for dinner at the weekend and nowadays, it just seems wrong to whip a dessert out of a packet for pudding. I figure that if lots of time is spent lovingly preparing a main meal, why shouldn’t the sweet receive the same attention!? I have been very guilty of presenting ‘shop bought’ products for afters at family dinners for some time now – but no more, it stops here! I have stumbled across a real crowd pleaser that requires minimal preparation and tastes just divine.

I spyed a community recipe for a non-bake ‘Lemon Cheesecake’ on Nigella’s Lawson’s website that had been posted by a guest, simply named ‘H’. The full recipe can be found here. The fact that it doesn’t require any cooking particularly appealed to me (baking still scares me to be honest, with my history of under and over doing things, it’s way too precise) and I always think that lemon is great to cleanse the palate after a substantial meal. Actually, I seem to be on a bit of a lemon frenzy at the moment. Up until recent times I never used to care for it at all, but perhaps my tastes are maturing!

To make this incredibly delicious dessert to fill a 7 inch tin (removable base) you will need 397 grams of sweetened condensed milk (this equates to a whole standard size tin),
300 grams of cream cheese (I used Philadelphia and it worked a treat), 285ml of double cream, four large lemons (washed, halved and deseeded), twelve digestive biscuits (crushed) and 80 grams of butter.

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Method:
– Place the biscuits into a bag (I used a freezer food bag) and crush with a rolling pin until you are left with even sized crumbs (very effective stress relief activity by the way).
– Melt the butter on the hob in a saucepan and then add the crushed biscuits.
– When the butter is fully absorbed, transfer the mixture to the tin and pat down thoroughly. Refrigerate.
– Place the cream cheese into a large mixing bowl and start to soften with an electric mixer.
– Slowly start to add the condensed milk while still mixing, then slowly add the double cream.
– Squeeze the juice from each lemon into the bowl one by one (it really helps if you roll the lemons on your kitchen work top beforehand as they seem to emit more juice) and as you whisk you will see the mixture start to thicken.
– NOTE: if you’d like to make it a little more tangy and also add a little texture, add a little grated zest (I did this and would highly recommend it, although it does make it much more ‘lemony’, so beware!)
– Transfer to the tin and spread evenly over the base with a spatula.
– Refrigerate for at least an hour (mine was perfectly set after two hours).

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I just want to mention, incase you are looking at my photograph and thinking it looks a little light on the biscuit – well, it was. The truth is, I used a ten inch tin as it was all I had to hand. I did up the quantity of ingredients a little to try and compensate (no particular formula), but I feel it needed a few more biscuits! It didn’t affect the taste at all, but my task this week is to purchase a loose base seven inch cake tin! If you have the correct size already, however, the above quantities will be just right.

This cheesecake really is the business. It’s amazingly light, yet creamy and tangy – with a buttery biscuity base. We tucked into some rather large slices that night as I had created a dessert that was ten inches in diameter! It certainly made everyone happy, and we went in for some more the next day, and the day after that! Yep, this could be my new signature pudding me thinks. Triumph!

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