From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
for the base:
75 g butter (plus extra for greasing)
250 g ginger nut biscuits (crushed)
for the filling:
1 vanilla pod (split in half and seeds removed)
2 x 250 g tubs mascarpone cheese
100 g caster sugar
2 tblsp cornflour
200 g jar of chocolate and hazelnut spread
1 tsp finely chopped stem ginger (in syrup)
raspberries, chocolate shavings and whipped cream, to serve
This decedent cheesecake is fabulously smooth, silky and rich. It is perfect if you want to make something the day before and keep it in the fridge until needed. If you want to increase the chocolate hit try using chocolate ginger nut biscuits for the base! Stem ginger is becoming more readily available in supermarkets and delis, but if you can't get hold of it then substitute with ½ teaspoon of ground ginger.
Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F/Gas 3). To make the base, lightly butter a 23cm (9 inch) spring-form cake tin. Melt the butter in a pan over a gentle heat or in a bowl in the microwave. Add the crushed ginger nut biscuits and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the tin, pressing down with the back of a spoon to flatten. Place in fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
Place a dish or baking tin of hot water in oven on the bottom rack; this will stop a skin forming on the cheesecake. Using the paddle attachment on a food processor, place the vanilla seeds, mascarpone cheese, sugar, cornflour, eggs, chocolate and hazelnut spread and stem ginger in the mixing bowl. Beat until smooth.
Pour this mixture onto the biscuit base in the cake tin and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50-55 minutes until just set around the edges but still be a little wobbly in the centre. Turn off the oven, open the door and carefully run a knife around the cake tin, this prevents the cheesecake from splitting in the middle when cooling. Close the oven door and leave for 1 1/2 hours until completely set. Remove from the oven and place in the fridge if not using immediately.
To serve, transfer the cheesecake to a cake stand and cut into wedges in front of your guests. Add a dollop of whipped cream to each plate, arrange some raspberries and scatter the chocolate shavings over to serve.