‘My yummy peanut but­ter cheese­cake is filled with love, laugh­ter and cel­e­bra­tion’

Prima (UK) - - Magical Memories -

When her son, Ben, was di­ag­nosed as coeliac, Masterchef win­ner Jane Devon­shire, 52, from Al­ton, Hamp­shire, be­came de­ter­mined to make the per­fect birth­day dessert that ev­ery­one could en­joy.

Some­times, when you get a recipe right, you just know. My peanut but­ter cheese­cake is one of those recipes. Ev­ery time I make it, I smile – and so does my youngest son, Ben, be­cause the in­spi­ra­tion was all down to him. A few years ago, I wanted to make him some­thing spe­cial for his birth­day.

But for our fam­ily, there was an even more poignant rea­son be­hind the cheese­cake’s cre­ation.

When Ben was two years old, he was di­ag­nosed as coeliac, and I had to adapt my cook­ing to en­sure that our meals were gluten free. Food has al­ways been one of our great­est plea­sures as a fam­ily, some­thing we al­ways shared to­gether in good times and bad. And yet, sud­denly, it wasn’t quite so sim­ple.

Chil­dren’s par­ties were a mine­field, pizza-mak­ing and fast food were a no-no, and food soon be­came a quite alien­at­ing thing for Ben. How­ever, at home, I was de­ter­mined that he wouldn’t feel iso­lated – and I be­gan to cook gluten-free for the whole fam­ily. I wanted us to eat the same thing all to­gether; for meal­times to re­main in­clu­sive, en­joy­able and stress free.

I per­se­vered de­spite some real dis­as­ters (mem­o­ries of my less-thansuc­cess­ful York­shire pan­cakes are a con­stant source of amuse­ment!) and some moans and groans from the el­dest three. How­ever, the tri­umphs made the chal­lenge worth­while. The peanut but­ter cheese­cake I made for Ben’s 11th birth­day was one of these happy mile­stones. With peanut but­ter, cho­co­late, cream and biscuits, it was packed full of ev­ery­thing Ben loved to eat. When it was served, the smile on his face said it all. He was so proud that his cake was a bit dif­fer­ent, some­thing new and some­thing that all his friends loved as much as he did. In fact, it went down so well with the guests that no one even thought to men­tion or ask about gluten free.

The recipe is a firm tra­di­tion. Ben is now 16 and, ev­ery year, I still make the cheese­cake for his birth­day. We serve it with the best of mem­o­ries; with love, laugh­ter and cel­e­bra­tion. What could be sweeter than that?

Has­sle Free, Gluten Free by Jane Devon­shire (Ab­so­lute Press) is out 20 Septem­ber

Cre­ative baker Jane cre­ates dishes the whole fam­ily can in­dulge in

Jane’s gluten-free cheese­cake is a fam­ily favourite

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