Wow guests with this very special starter or main course combining a parmesan filling with a cracker crumb and a touch of freshness in the garnish. Served cold so it is just perfect for a warm summer's day. Suitable for vegetarians if you use agar agar and not gelatine.
Prep: 30 mins
Cooling/Setting: 4 hrs
Serves: 6 or 8 as a starter
Because this dish needs about 4 hours to set completely, then make it in the morning ready for dinner or the day before for a special lunch.
Decorate at the last minute before serving.
Hint: use a tin with a narrower diameter and higher sides to get the best effect.
Accompany with Prince.
250g savoury crackers (eg Tuc biscuits)
125g salted butter, melted
400g cream cheese (eg Philadelphia)
25g grated parmesan
3g Agar agar or 2 sheets of gelatine
200ml liquid cream
Lemon zest (optional)
1 green + 1 yellow courgette
Selection of young shoots or herbs
Break up the crackers to make coarse breadcrumbs. Add the melted butter and mix well. Place the cracker mixture in the bottom of a springform cake mould, patting down well with the back of a spoon. Cool well eg in fridge overnight or even in the freezer to ensure it is really well set.
Gently heat the cream. Add the grated parmesan and mix until melted. Then add the agar agar or gelatine (if not a vegetarians) stirring well to dissolve it. Gelatine can take quite a while so persevere.
Whisk the cream cheese with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, add the cream mixture and mix again.
Pour the mixture into the cake mould and put in the freezer for an hour. When the cheesecake has set, remove the outside of the cake mould and put it back in the fridge for 3 hours to finish setting completely.
Wash the cucumber and courgettes, trimming their ends. Using a peeler, cut fine strips, put them in a bowl with some salt and a splash of olive oil to gently coat the strips. Cut the cucumber into small cubes (discarding the seedy core). Wash the young shoots.
To serve, take the cheesecake out of the fridge, carefully place courgette strips, cucumber cubes and herby shoots to make a mini garden on top of the cheesecake. Finish by adding a touch of lemon zest.
Serve chilled accompanied by a crunchy salad such as apple, beetroot and white cabbage or salad leaves.