If you read my last post you might have seen we’ve had a broken oven for the past month. Last week it finally got replaced, and I celebrated over the weekend by baking up a big batch of mince pies. Before our new one arrived I was bracing myself to enter the festive season without a working oven. I don’t think a year has gone by without me baking mince pies, or gingerbread. Ovens aren’t a standard appliance in Hong Kong. You’ll only really find them in the apartments built with expats in mind. Kitchens are small, and the Chinese style of cooking doesn’t really need them. Our current apartment is the first we’ve had with a full size oven, and in the past we’ve always made do with little microwave size ovens, our very first one being a little box that didn’t seal and could give you no true indication of oven temperature. Really handy for baking!
Even in our early days in Hong Kong I still managed to bake the annual batch of mince pies in our little second hand tabletop toaster oven. I still find myself in shock at the price of mincemeat here, at almost nine pounds a jar, it makes them a pricey treat, but even so it still works out cheaper buying your own than splashing out on a few over priced imported boxes! Back when I was teaching in a language centre the tiny ovens would be over worked come Christmas as we baked stained glass window biscuits with class after class. One memorable year were filled with cough sweets as those were the only boiled sweets we could find. I wouldn’t suggest trying it out!
This cheesecake was my festive answer to a December without an oven. It’s a true crowd pleasing dessert. A thick layer of chocolate cheesecake, filled with hidden Malteasers. I topped it with a drizzle of dark chocolate, more Malteasers and little mini Malteaser Reindeer. I find a good chocolatey dessert is the perfect thing to serve alongside a steaming Christmas pud at the end of a Christmas day dinner. It keeps well in the fridge, so can be brought out again for a Boxing Day tea, or even Christmas evening when you really aren’t hungry at all, but still fancy eating just because its Christmas and you can.
This is a great option for those without an oven, or without much time. It doesn’t take long to put together, and it can be made a day or two in advance of the big day. If you are going to make it in advance, I’d recommend keeping your Malteasers whole both inside and outside your cheesecake, rather than crushing them as the recipe suggests. The honeycomb interior can go a bit soggy and chewy if exposed to moisture.
The no bake cheesecake mixture is a fool proof method I’ve used before in my Terry’s Chocolate Orange cheesecake, and my Nutella and Ferrero Rocher cheesecake. It’s made by whipping up cream cheese with icing sugar, cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate. Whipped double cream is then folded in to make it extra light and rich. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to make the cheesecake with milk chocolate. It’s sweet enough as it is, and needs a bit of dark chocolate to balance it out!
- Make sure you use dark chocolate inside the cheesecake, but you can top it with any type of chocolate you like. White chocolate would look especially festive!
- Once you’ve removed your cheesecake from the spring form tin you may find the sides of your cheesecake are rather rough and don’t look their best. Run a palette knife gently around the edge of the cheesecake to give your sides a lovely smooth finish.
- This recipe could be easily adapted for Easter by topped with Mini Eggs and Malteaster bunnies.
- If you don’t want to pipe on the cream, you can press your reindeer directly into the top of the cheesecake before you leave it to chill.
- ---- for the base
- 300g digestive biscuits
- 100g butter, melted
- -----for the cheesecake
- 300ml double cream
- 660g full fat cream cheese
- 50g icing sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100g dark chocolate, melted
- 80g Malteasers
- --- for the toppings
- 100g dark chocolate, melted
- 100ml double cream
- 70g Malteasers
- 8 Mini Malteaser Reindeer
- Lightly grease and line an 8inch spring form tin.
- In a food processer, blitz your digestive biscuits until you have fine crumbs. You can also do this by putting the biscuits in a large Ziploc bag, or a large heavy bowl, and bashing them with the end of a rolling pin. Mix in your melted butter, and pour the mixture into your prepared tin. Press it down firmly with the back of a spoon. Put the base to chill in the fridge for about an hour.
- While it chills, make the filling. In a large bowl whip up you double cream until it forms peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl add the cream cheese, icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat together with an electric whisk until smooth and well combined. Add your dark chocolate and continue to beat until combined. Finally, add your whipped cream and fold together, trying not to knock any of the air out of the whipped cream.
- Take your Malteasters and gently crush so around half stay whole, and half are crushed.
- Take a few spoonfuls of the filling and spread it over the biscuit base. Sprinkle your Malteasers on top. If you would prefer not to see the Malteasers around the outside edge of your cheesecake make sure you leave a couple of centimetres border. Top with the remaining cheesecake mixture and smooth down. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
- Remove the cheesecake from the tin. Drizzle over 100g melted chocolate. Pipe 8 whipped cream swirls around the outside of your cake – unless you’re not using the cream, see note. Top with your Mini Malteaser Reindeer, and top the centre of your cheesecake with Malteasers.
- Store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.