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Prune and Cider Cheesecake

ingredients

serves 8
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) 75 g butter or margarine
1/4 cup (50 g) 2 oz caster sugar (superfine granulated)
175 g gingernut biscuits, finely crushed
grated rind of 1/2 lemon

for the filling

175 g prunes, soaked overnight in 300 ml cider
225 g curd or sieved cottage cheese
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup (100 g) 4 oz caster sugar (superfine granulated)
2 level tbsp plain flour (All purpose)
2/3 cup (150 ml) 1/4 pt double or whipping cream

for the topping

1 cup + 3 tbls (175 g) icing sugar (confectioners sugar), sifted
grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
40 g full fat soft cheese

method

Preheat an oven to 160°C, 325°F, gas mark 3.

1. Melt the butter or margarine and sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Stir in the biscuit crumbs and lemon rind.

2. Press evenly over the bottom of a greased loose-bottomed 18-20 cm/7-8 inch round cake tin. Chill while you make the filling.

3. Drain off any surplus liquid from the prunes; the liquid can be used to flavour a trifle or other pudding.

4. Stone the prunes. Reserve 6-8 of the prunes for decoration, then arrange the remainder over the biscuit base in the tin.

5. Soften the cheese in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the egg yolks, 50 g (2 oz) of the caster sugar, the flour and cream.

6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then whisk in the remaining caster sugar.

7. Fold lightly but thoroughly into the cheese mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.

8. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours or until firm but still spongy to the touch.

9. Turn off the oven, open the door and leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.

10. Ease the sides of the tin carefully away from the cheesecake and lift the cheesecake out on the tin base. Mix the icing sugar with the lemon rind and juice and sufficient water to give a smooth coating consistency. Spoon over the cheesecake, allowing the icing to trickle down the sides. (The icing can be tinted with a little yellow food colouring, if liked.) Stuff each of the reserved prunes with a little cheese and arrange on top of the cheesecake.

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