This wonderful cheesecake is filled with sweet blueberries, and accented by zesty lime, rich soya cream cheese and spicy ginger biscuits. The world is filled with people who ADORE cheesecake and, having never, seriously, ever been able to eat one, I’ve now been able to join them. YAY! Delicious and stunning, and I know from experience that it travels well (I carried it from West Dulwich (where I live) to the offices of Simon & Schuster in Bloomsbury when I presented my book Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at the Sales Conference.) I use Tofutti Creamy Smooth – a dairy-free alternative to cream cheese – because it has a beautiful taste and texture and works brilliantly in this cheesecake. It takes a while to make because you need to make the biscuits first, then put the cheesecake together, bake it and leave to chill and set. But wow is it worth it!
Serves 6–8 Preparation time 40 minutes, plus at least 3 hours setting Cooking time 1 hour
100g/3½oz dairy-free margarine, melted, plus extra for greasing
300g/10½oz/2 cups blueberries
550g/1lb 4oz soya cream cheese
175g/6oz/1 cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
zest and juice of 2 limes
175g/6oz dairy-free margarine
125g/4½oz/¾ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup rice flour
50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup gram flour
50g/1¾oz/¹⁄₃ cup maize flour
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
scant ½ tsp xanthan gum
1cm/½in piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
1 To make the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Put the dairy-free margarine and sugar in a saucepan and heat over a low heat until the margarine has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 4–5 minutes until the mixture has caramelized slightly and become syrupy.
2 Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl and stir in the ground ginger, gluten-free baking powder and xanthan gum. Add the root ginger and, using your fingertips, rub it into the flour mixture until well mixed. Add the margarine and sugar syrup, and stir well with a wooden spoon.
3 Spoon the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, onto the baking sheets. Using your hands and the back of a metal spoon, shape each mound into a round biscuit shape about 3mm/1∕₈in thick.
4 Bake for 8–12 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Break into pieces.
5 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Lightly grease a deep 20cm/8in springform cake tin with dairy-free margarine and line the base with baking parchment. Heat the dairy-free margarine in a saucepan over a low heat until melted. Put the biscuits in a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the crumbs to the melted margarine and mix well. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture evenly into the base of the cake tin. Cover with the blueberries and leave to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
6 Meanwhile, blend the soya cream cheese, sugar, and lime zest and juice together in a food processor until smooth. Add the eggs and blend until smooth and creamy.
7 Pour the cheese mixture over the blueberries and bake for 30–35 minutes until pale golden brown and the top feels firm to the touch. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake to rest in the oven for another 30 minutes.
8 Ease the cheesecake out of the tin and leave to cool completely, then chill in the fridge for 3–4 hours until completely set before serving.