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Neighbourly cherry (or raspberry) cheesecake

It’s cherry time in the Western Cape and everyone is scrambling to make the most of these delicious berries. Gwenda and her grandchildren prepared this delicious cheesecake using freshly picked cherries. It will definitely wow your guests as well.

Crust

1,5 cups crushed digestive biscuits

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons softened butter

Ingredients for cheesecake

3 x 250ml (3 tubs) cream cheese – (or 4 tubs depending on the size of the springform pan)

3 eggs (or 4)

1 cup sugar

2,5 teaspoons vanilla essence

Ingredients for topping

2 x 250ml Smetana cream (sour cream)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Fresh cherries or a raspberry mixture. Grapes or any firm fruit e.g. sliced peaches or halved apricots can be used.  Use your imagination!

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

For the crust, blend crushed digestive biscuits, sugar and soft and pat into bottom of large, deep springform pan. Pat only on the bottom; do not worry about the sides. Put pan in oven for 5 minutes only.

For the cheesecake, mix all ingredients together until smooth.  Pour into springform pan over crust.  Bake 35 minutes.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes to halt cooking process.

For the topping, mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla.  Pour carefully over cheesecake just as you’ve taken it from the refrigerator.  Put back in oven for 5 minutes only.  Cool down in refrigerator until set completely. This usually takes one to two hours or, even better, overnight.

De-pit the

Cherries

Pit the fresh cherries and halve them. Now arrange on the cheesecake. halved – pack on cheesecake. Glaze cherries with warm cherry or raspberry jam.

If you are using raspberries: Cook 2 x 250g frozen raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch over medium heat, stir until thickened.  Cool and add to top of cake.

Peaches, grapes, apricots – any seasonal fruit can be used for topping

Glaze fruit with jam or jam/gelatine mixture.  Use small food brush or pour over fruit carefully.  Make sure not to ‘damage’ sour cream topping.

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