Cheesecake is a popular pudding in Mexico. The subtle scent of vanilla, a spice native to the country, is the classic way to flavour the cream filling, and I often add lime zest for a bit of zing. I like to bake it until puffed up, golden and quivering. Alongside, a seasonal fruit compote is just the thing – in this case, gooseberries and elderflower to hail the arrival of June.
Baked Mexican cheesecake with gooseberry and elderflower compote
Cold, velvety cream, warm compote and nutty base – I love the contrasts of texture and temperature. The compote is so moreish, I’d suggest making double the amount here.
Prep 20 min
Cook 1hr 20 min
120g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
375g full-fat cream cheese
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150ml double cream
For the biscuit base
250g ginger biscuits
60g desiccated coconut, or coconut flakes
For the compote
300g fresh gooseberries (or 1 x 300g tin, drained)
50ml elderflower cordial
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. Grease and line the bottom of a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
Start by making the base. In a food processor, blitz the biscuits and coconut to a rough crumb. Melt the butter and mix into the biscuits until they resemble wet sand. Season with a few pinches of salt and put in the base of the cake tin, using the back of a spoon or a small, flat-bottomed glass to smooth it out evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.
Turn down the oven to 170C (150C fan)/325F/gas 3. Mix the sugar with the cornflour, then beat in the cream cheese, egg yolks, vanilla and double cream. Grate in the zest from the lime, then stir in the juice of half the lime. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then fold into the cheese mixture as gently as possible, to keep the cheesecake light and airy.
Scrape the filling into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until lightly golden on top. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside to cool. Once the cheesecake has cooled, put in the fridge to chill.
Meanwhile, make the compote by putting the gooseberries, cordial and the juice from the remaining half-lime into a small pan and cook gently for eight minutes, until the fruit starts to collapse. When you are ready, serve the cheesecake with the warm compote.
The simple flex
To make this pudding dairy-free, use coconut oil instead of butter in the base and blitz soaked cashew nuts and chia seeds for the filling.