May, for me, is all about the rhubarb. Ade grows several varieties in the back garden and up at the allotment, so there’s always a generous supply of pink, potent stems in the kitchen at this time of year, waiting to be transformed into something delicious. I’m in raptures over my latest creation: a creamy and indulgent no-bake cheese cake with a zingy rhubarb and lime topping. It’s heavenly. The tangy flavour of the fruit offsets the sweet cheese filling beautifully, and the contrast of bright green zest against the pink rhubarb makes the whole cake dazzle!
With the rest of the rhubarb, I plan to make a batch of Rhubarb and Ginger Jam; it’s always my first jam of the season, and happens to be one of Ade’s favourites. I’ll also be stewing up rhubarb with cinnamon and honey to spoon into porridge or Greek yoghurt, and making my Rhubarb & Banana Squares, a family favourite which featured in last month’s Simple Things Magazine.
But until then, if you need me, I’ll be burying my face in this cheesecake.
(I’m not even joking.)
RHUBARB AND LIME CHEESECAKE
Prep: 1 hr (plus min. 4 hours chilling time) Serves: 6-8
Juice and zest of half a lime
1 tbsp caster sugar
300g cream cheese
250ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp rhubarb syrup (this forms naturally when roasting the rhubarb, see below)
130g digestive biscuits
80g softened butter
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan) and grease and line the base of a 20cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin.
Chop the rhubarb into 1-2cm rounds and place in a single layer on a baking tray. Sprinkle over the sugar and squeeze over the juice of half a lime.
Roast in the oven for ten minutes (I turn the oven off after five minutes and let it cook a further five minutes in the residual heat.)
Remove the tray from the heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, blitz the biscuits in a food processor (or seal them in a food bag and bash the hell out of them with a rolling pin!) before mixing thoroughly with the softened butter.
Press the biscuit mixture into the base of the cake tin, then pop in the fridge.
Drain a tablespoonful of the pink syrup from the roasted rhubarb tray into a mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat together.
Lightly whip the double cream and fold this into the mixture.
Spoon the cheesecake filling onto the biscuit base and smooth the top. Chill for at least four hours, ideally overnight. Pop the roasted rhubarb into an airtight container and refrigerate.
To serve the cheesecake, remove it from its tin and spoon the roasted rhubarb mix on top. Finish with a grating of fresh lime zest.
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