Little Lemon Cheesecakes

I love these little cold set cheesecakes for their ease and light but indulgent taste. They are simple to make and look great set out at a party or dinner- plus, you won’t need to fire up the oven.

I was first inspired to make them as a canvas for the gorgeous salade de fleurs I found at The Essential Ingredient, and have varied the topping to include fresh violets, candied flowers and lemon rind.They look lovely with berries, too- basically you want to pair them with something colourful and tasty!

My most recent batch were for New Years Eve, and I was rushing to leave (typical Becma) so I didn’t get a chance to get any photos of the process, but it’s fairly simply to follow.

Ingredients 

Base 

  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted.
  • 1 tbsp lemon rind, finely grated

Filling

  • 300ml single cream
  • Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon rind, finely grated

Decoration 

I suggest: Salade de fleurs, fresh violets, candied flowers, lemon rind and fresh berries.

Method 

1. Line a 12 hole muffin tray using squares of baking paper (or paper cupcake cases, if you’re in a hurry).

2. Break up the biscuits using a rolling pin or food processor until you have mostly fine crumbs (I like a few bigger bits for texture). Add the butter and rind and stir or process until well combined.

3. Place about 2 tablespoons of base mixture into each of the lined spots and press down. You want nice thick bases for your cheesecakes, so use a bit more mixture if you have leftovers, just make sure you don’t go above the halfway point. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until firm.

4. Beat the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer until it nearly holds its shape but not quite, then beat in softened cream cheese until smooth.

5. Add juice and rind and begin beating on a medium speed, gradually adding icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and mostly free of lumps.

6. Spoon mixture on top of the prepared bases (still in tray) and place in the freezer for at least two hours. Remove baking paper from frozen cheesecakes and move to fridge shortly before serving. Decorate with whatever you have chosen and serve with berries, if desired.

Yum!

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Lemon Slice

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A slice like this was a regular at home and in school lunches when I was growing up (thanks Mum!).

It’s great with a cup of afternoon tea- the crunchy biscuit base contrasts perfectly with the sweet lemony icing spread on top.

A plus, as we head into summer, is that there is no actual baking required- you use the stove briefly but most of the work is done by the fridge.

Another easy recipe with a supremely satisfying result. Yum.

The recipe below is adapted from the Lime & Coconut slice in my favourite book of sweet treats, Macaroons and Biscuits by The Australian Womens’ Weekly

You’ll need:

Base 

  • 240g plain sweet biscuits (my favourites are Marie)
  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp lemon rind
  • Water

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Method

1. Grease and line a 20x30cm slice tin, extending paper 5cm over long sides, to make it easy to lift the finished slice.

2. If you have a food processor: Process 3/4 of the biscuits until fine, and roughly chop the remaining biscuits.

If you don’t (like me): place the biscuits (having eaten one or two to get the required weight) – still in their packet- in a ziplock bag or two, and have fun smashing them with a rolling pin or mallet to get them as fine as possible. This is never going to achieve exactly the same result as a processor but I’ve come to like a nice chunky biscuit base, and you can keep smashing them with a wooden spoon once you’ve put them into a large bowl.

The Beatles judging me for using a dessert spoon on the stove.
The Beatles judging me for using a dessert spoon on the stove.

3. Stir condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted.

4. Add the butter mixture to your biscuits, lemon juice and rind, and coconut and stir well to combine.  Press the (amazing smelling!) mixture into your prepared slice tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

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5. To make your lemon icing, combine sifted icing sugar with the melted butter, juice and rind, and add enough water to make a thick paste. To make it spreadable, you can place it over a small saucepan of simmering water and stir until spreadable OR 1/3 fill another bowl with boiling water and carefully place icing bowl on top, stirring until you achieve the right consistency.

6. Spread icing over your base and pop in the fridge for another 30 minutes, then cut into about 24 pieces and enjoy that sweet lemony, biscuity goodness.

Let me know how you go with it!

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