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A Thriller with Vanilla: Baked Vanilla Cheesecake



A Thriller with Vanilla: Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

Lungi Mbona's strawberry cheesecake. Photo: Wanda Hennig

This winner of a recipe comes from Plentiful: The Big Book of Buddha Food, and is the work of Lungi Mbona. It’s the pièce de résistance baked vanilla cheesecake stippled with slivers of strawberry and lavished with strawberry coulis – the strawberries and a dash of sugar brought to the boil, simmered till soft, pressed through a sieve then refrigerated. Added just before it is offered, as the lunchtime dessert, at the Buddhist Retreat Centre last Sunday.

This recipe accompanies Wanda Hennig’s story on the Buddhist Retreat Centre, which you can read here.


200g digestive biscuits crushed into crumbs

100g butter, melted


700g cream cheese

190g castor sugar

300 ml cream

2½ tbsp corn flour

3 eggs

½ tsp vanilla essence

Seeds of half a vanilla pod

1 lemon, the zest only

Preheat your oven to 160ºC. Butter and line a 20cm form tin with silicone paper. Mix the melted butter and the digestive biscuit crumbs in a bowl and pour into the tin. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the tin, making sure to cover everywhere, and then place in the fridge to set. It may be helpful at this stage to wrap the bottom of the tin in aluminium foil to ensure that it is water-tight when placed in the water bath in the oven.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, cream, corn flour, vanilla essence, seeds of the vanilla pod, and lemon zest. Beat everything together until there are no lumps and pour the contents onto the biscuit base in the prepared baking tin. Place the unbaked cheesecake into an ovenproof dish. Pour water into the ovenproof dish so that it comes half-way up the outside of the foil-lined cheesecake to create a water bath. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the cheesecake is browning too much on top, turn down the oven to 150ºC and place a sheet of foil on top. Continue to bake until the cheesecake is firm. Allow the cheesecake to cool before placing it in the fridge. Decorate with seasonal fruit. Served chilled. DM


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