While moving in to the new flat, we somehow acquired a pack of coconut biscuits. As neither T nor I are particular fans, I decided to use the biscuits to make a cheesecake base. I found a recipe in "Bake" for a blueberry cheesecake, and set to work.
The base was easy enough, and was the usual mix of crushed biscuits and melted butter. On to that, I arranged plenty of chopped strawberries, as the blueberries in the shops were ridiculously expensive.
Next up was the cheesecake mix. Cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and eggs were whisked until smooth and creamy. Although I know you are not meant to eat raw eggs I couldn't resist a spoonful of mix, just to test it was alright... As it was delicious I poured the mixture over the strawberries and put it in to the oven.
It might be a tad unfair of me to totally blame Rachel Allen for my cheesecake fail. It was my first time cooking with the new oven, which is a combined oven and grill. I had an oven thermometer in there to see how accurate the oven was. Despite turning the oven up to full blast, it seemed unable to get hotter that 170C. Since the cheesecake wanted to be at 180C, I thought this was close enough and ploughed on regardless. It was only after the top of the cheesecake started burning after 5 minutes that I realised I had set the dial to grill instead of oven. In my defence, both symbols had a fan on them, and the only difference was a slightly thicker black line at the bottom!
I switched it over to oven mode, and kept an eye on the oven thermometer (which E, my old flatmate, once described as "a gadget for calling your oven's bullshit") so the temperature stayed around 180C the whole time. After 40 minutes, the cheesecake was mostly golden (except the burnt patch) and wobbled pleasingly.
After chilling in the fridge, and topping it off with a strawberry and white wine syrup, it was time to eat. Although the strawberry flavour was good, the texture was a little too eggy in places. Instead of being smooth and custard like, it was granular and coarse. I can't decide if this was my complete inability to work an oven or just the wrong ratio of cream cheese and eggs.
The texture wasn't bad enough to scrap the cheesecake totally, and I've been working my way through it over the past few days. The flavours have matured nicely, and it does seem a little less granular after a few days in the fridge.
Hopefully now I have mastered how the new oven works, I can start making up with "Bake".