Cardamom & Chocolate Cheesecake


As you may have noticed I’ve still not got round to posting any Indian recipes. I’ve dabbled with introducing Indian spices to my baking before (see Winter Spice & Apple Cinnamon Rolls) and I want to start doing it a lot more. I have had this cheesecake recipe under my belt for a while now but have never found an opportune moment to share it with you. Finally the moment has arrived. It’s Diwali! Now for those of you who don’t know, Diwali is the Hindu “festival of light”. The literal meaning of the word Diwali is row of lamps.

It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. I’ll give you a general overview of the significance of Diwali and how we celebrate it in the Bharti household. Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after 14 years of exile and the vanquishing of Ravana. To celebrate his return to Ayodhya, people decorated their homes and lit hundreds of lamps. The lighting of lamps signifies the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. The light is said to empower one to carry out good deeds, bringing oneself closer to divinity. This is just the briefest of brief, teeny tiny explanation of Diwali. There are in fact 4 days of celebrations which you can read about in more detail here. So how is Diwali celebrated in my house? You could liken Diwali celebrations to Christmas celebrations in that a lot revolves around family and food!

Some families exchange gifts but we don’t tend to do that. We usually all get together at someones house and eat lots and lots of really good Indian food. When I was at uni there was the added bonus of having a huge doggy bag of food to take back with me. Saved me from cooking/food shopping for a good few days! Lamps are lit around the house and we occasionally do fireworks, which is usually quite eventful as the fireworks are more often than not a bit dodgy! Indian sweets/desserts are usually quite rich and can often be an acquired taste. I haven’t yet had a chance to make any, partly because I am a little scared of the amount of fat and sugar that goes into them! This cheesecake uses a typically Indian spice, cardamom, giving an Indian twist to a western dessert. It’s a lighter alternative to your typical Diwali treats that I reckon will go down well with even the fussiest of “aunties”!

Recipe

I have been making variations of this no bake cheesecake for a while now, starting with Raspberry & Chocolate. I found the original recipe on BBC Good Food website but they seem to have taken it down.
In one of the pictures above, a mix of dark and milk chocolate can be seen. I suggest using only milk or plain if you want the cheesecake to be a little less sweet. I found that as I used a 75% cocoa dark choc and the recipe does not call for any sugar, the cheesecake was a bit bitter. I then had to add some icing sugar.

Serves: 8
Prep time: 15 mins
Setting time: At least 4 hours in the fridge, the longer the better!
Skill level: Super easy

Equipment
medium saucepan
ziplock bag
rolling pin 
small saucepan
heatproof dish
mixing bowl
7″-8″ tart ring (an adjustable ring, or one which can open is best)

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter
180g digestive biscuits
150g milk/plain chocolate (depending on your preference)  
300g cream cheese 
200ml double cream
½tsp ground cardamom 
1tsp vanilla essence 
optional:
handful of crushed pistachios 

IMPORTANT: Make sure the cold ingredients (cream cheese & double cream) have been out of the fridge a bit before you combine with the melted choc. If you use them straight from the fridge, the chocolate will solidify in weird chunky bits, and you don’t really want that to happen!

Method

  1. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat when completely melted.
  2. Place biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush into fine crumbs using a rolling pin.
  3. Add the crushed biscuits to the melted butter mix and mix well until all biscuit pieces are coated.
  4. Place the heat proof dish over a pan of simmering water and melt the chocolate. (This is called a bain marie) Leave to cool slightly.
  5. Whilst the chocolate is melting, mix together cream cheese, double cream, ground cardamom and vanilla essence. Beat together the ingredients until smooth.
  6. Pour the (slightly cooled) melted chocolate into the cream cheese mix. Stir well to combine.
  7. Place your tart ring on a plate. To form the base of your cheesecake, pour out the crushed biscuit mix into the ring and spread, forming an even layer.
  8. Dollop the cream cheese mix on top of the biscuit base, then carefully spread forming a smooth, even layer.
  9. Cover with cling film and refridgerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
  10. To serve, carefully remove the tart ring (this is where having one that can be adjusted comes in handy) cover in crushed pistachios and slice.
HAPPY DIWALI!!

In keeping with the Indian theme of today’s post I am going to share with you a track by Nitin Sawhney, a British Indian who creates a fusion of eastern and western music with elements of jazz and electronica…

KBx

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