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Chocolate Mint Cheesecake

ingredients

serves 10-12
1 thin sponge layer, 25-30 cm in diameter and 1 cm thick

for the filling

225 g wafer-thin chocolate mints
450 g full fat soft cheese
4 eggs, separated
1 cup (225 g) 1/2 lb caster sugar (superfine granulated)
few drops of peppermint essence
30 g powdered gelatine
8 tbsps water
300 ml double or whipping cream

for the topping

2 egg whites
1/3 cup (75 g) 3oz caster sugar (superfine granulated)
300 ml double or whipping cream

method

1. Press the sponge layer into a greased loose-bottomed 25-30 cm/10-12 inch round cake tin, trimming the cake to fit exactly in the bottom of the tin.

2. To make the filling, reserve 8-10 of the mints for decoration and chop the remainder into small pieces.

3. Soften the cheese in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the egg yolks, 100g/4oz of the sugar, the peppermint essence and the cream.

4. Put the gelatine and water into a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

5. Beat the gelatine into the cheese mixture. Leave on one side until the mixture is on the point of setting.

6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then whisk in the remaining sugar. Fold lightly but thoroughly into the cheese mixture, together with the chopped mints.

7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and shake the tin gently to level the surface. Chill for 3-4 hours or until the filling is set.

8. Ease the sides of the tin carefully away from the cheesecake and lift the cheesecake out on the tin base.

9. For the topping, whip the cream until it is quite thick. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then whisk in the caster sugar.

10. Fold the egg white mixture lightly into the whipped cream.

11. Swirl the creamy meringue over the top of the cheesecake and decorate with the reserved mints, either whole or halved.

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