CHRISTMAS CHEESECAKE A spiced apple dessert from BBC Masterchef’s John Torode
The BBC Masterchef judge’s make-ahead festive dessert is an easy way to please a hungry household
We tend to think of cheesecake in terms of summer flavours and berries, but this festive version proves that winter fruit and spices also work well. I love this recipe because it’s seasonal, it easily feeds a house full of people and it can be dressed up or down to be as fancy or casual as you want it to be. 1 Butter and line the base of a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Whizz the biscuits to a rough crumb in a food processor, or put them in a sandwich bag and crush with a rolling pin. Tip the crumbs into a bowl with the melted butter, stem ginger and spices, and stir well. Press the mixture into the tin, pushing up the sides a little (putting your hand in a food bag makes this easier). Leave the base to set for 30 mins in the fridge.
2 For the cheese layer, whisk all the ingredients together until smooth, then pour over the base. Chill in the fridge overnight.
3 The next day, make the topping. Mix the cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice in a large bowl. Cut each apple into 12 wedges, then toss the wedges in the spice mixture. Heat the sugar and 4 tbsp water in a saucepan and bubble to an amber caramel (see p129). As soon as the sugar becomes a dark caramel, take off the heat and carefully toss through the apples. Pour in the brandy, and the whole lot will bubble and seize. Return the pan to the heat and simmer gently to re-dissolve the caramel and cook the apples in the syrup. Remove from the heat and set the apples aside to cool in the syrup.
4 Ease the cheesecake out of the tin. Spoon the apples over the top with a slotted spoon. Serve the sticky brandy syrup on the side as a sauce.
PER SERVING 479 kcals • fat 25g • saturates 16g • carbs 54g • sugars 44g • fibre 1g • protein 6g • salt 0.8g
BBC Good Food contributing editor John Torode will be back as a judge on the new series of Masterchef, which will air on BBC One next spring. @Johntorode1