Blackcurrant Cheesecake

Just dashed in from the garden. Picked some hellebores for the kitchen table. Now for some cooking……

I’m standing at the cooker stirring a cauldron of blackcurrants. Outside the temperature has dipped to 1C and there’s a bitter north wind. But in the kitchen, it’s summer again. The scent of the blackcurrants transports me back to sunnier times. I’m making blackcurrant syrup. It is roughly equal amounts of fruit and sugar. The blackcurrants are first cooked and sieved. And then the sugar is added and the mixture simmers for 15 minutes. Add the justice of a lemon. When cooled, it can be added to yogurt, fruit sponges, or made into jam tarts. Today I’m making lemon cheesecake and topping it with the rich, full of flavour syrup. It will do us the world of good. We have been ill since Christmas, and the thought of all that vitamin C is cheering me up already.

Blackcurrant Cheesecake

500g packet of digestive biscuits

4oz or 113g butter. 1/3 cup in USA

4oz or 113g cottage cheese. 1/3 cup

8oz or 227g cream cheese. 2/3 cup

1/4pint or 142ml double cream.

3oz or 85g sugar. 1/4 cup

Juice and rind of one lemon

First whizz the biscuits in a food processor. Melt the butter and add the crushed biscuits. Press this mixture into the bottom of a glass Pyrex flan dish.

Sieve the cottage cheese and add the cream cheese and sugar. Whisk the double cream until it is firm and fold in to the mixture. Add the lemon juice and rind. Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base.

Drizzle the blackcurrant syrup over the top. Or you can add any fruit you like. It is lovely with strawberries, peaches, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries- anything you have spare.

Place in the fridge for at least four hours to set.

Growing Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants are easy to grow. The fruit forms on young wood, so now is a good time to prune out some of the old stems. I remove about 1/3 of the stems each year, leaving around 7 of the newer stems to develop. Mulch with well rotted compost, manure or mushroom compost. Blackcurrants can be grown in sun or semi-shade, but they hate being too dry. Incorporating humus into the soil will help. Plant deeply- about 6cm deeper than the plants were growing in their pots. I’ve found the best varieties to grow are anything with the prefix “Ben” – so Ben Connan, Ben Sarek, Ben Hope and Ben Lomond.

Today’s syrup was made from frozen fruit. They freeze well and are free flowing, so you only need to defrost a few at a time. A tip for preparing them. Freeze them straight from the garden. And when they are frozen, take them out and roll them carefully in a tea towel. All the stems and bottoms will come off easily and you can pop the fruit back in the freezer before they thaw out. This is much easier than trying to top and tail fresh, squashy fruit.

I’ll leave you with another view from the garden just now. I’ll be glad when the light returns. Meanwhile, every time I look in the freezer there’s a reminder of summer. It’s like opening a box of jewels.

34 thoughts on “Blackcurrant Cheesecake

  1. Good evening Karen, ahh the thought of summer.. my mother in law gave me two bag fulls of redcurrants from her garden last year. Sadly our freezer broke down and we lost them all! So gone are the jewels! Your recipe looks easy and mouthwatering. Thank you for sharing xx

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    • Oh no! I dread that happening! So sorry to hear about your freezer. I’m loving your Instagram videos which I have a little look at each time they are on. It’s like a personal tour of your garden. Just wonderful. Thanks for reading. Love karen xx

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    • Thank you. It’s certainly done me some good. I feel some energy returning – at last. Phew what an awful time we’ve had. Now looking forward to sowing some seeds and doing some gentle gardening – and mooching in the greenhouse again. Thanks for reading. Karen x

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    • Thank you Derrick. So kind of you to say so. I was trying to hide the very messy worktop which was covered in blackcurrants and cream. I’m a very messy cook. But it was worth it. The blackcurrants tasted as fresh as if they were picked yesterday. Amazing how some things freeze so well. Thanks again for reading.

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  2. Karen, are you completely cured of the flu? I was worried about you. The Hellebores that accompanies you in the kitchen is divine: all white. Thank you very much for the recipe for the black currant cheese cake and for telling us how the currants are preserved. It has to be delicious. The sunset photo is marvellous: I miss them, but I have yours. I hope the temperature goes up a few degrees and it’s less cold. Remember your Mother with love from me. For you Karen that you get strong and stay warm. Very loving greetings from Margarita.

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    • I’m getting stronger. Thank you for thinking of me Margarita. You are a loyal friend. We just need to keep warm and take a slow pace and I’m sure we will be back to normal in a few weeks. The cold weather hasn’t helped. Thank you for reading and for your lovely, kind words. Hoping all is well with you and your family. Much love and greetings from Karen xx

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  3. I love black currants but I cannot grow them successfully here, they need a lot of water. Bob Flowerdew says he threw one into a pond and forgot about it. The plant produced more fruit than any in his garden. Admittedly he lives in the very dry east of the country but being water-logged didn’t seem to be a problem. Obviously I’m not speaker no from personal experience except for knowing that they didn’t do at all well in my very free draining soil.

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    • Oh no! Birds can be a problem. I’ve tried to plant vast amounts of wild cherry trees wherever I can and the birds tend to go there first, leaving my fruit uneaten. Blackcurrants used to take me ages to prepare before I read about the freezing tip. Makes life so much easier. I think we are having blackcurrant syrup with steamed sponge tonight. Another winter recipe that keeps us cheerful while it’s cold outside. All the best Brian

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  4. I love making black currant jam in the midst of winter. In fact I prefer using frozen fruit as it speeds up the jam making process. I must get out and prune our black currant bushes. Thanks for the reminder. Ooh and this recipe looks delicious.

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    • Thank you Sammie. We are having sponge pudding with blackcurrant jam tonight. Yum! It’s so lovely to open the freezer and see all those jewel-like colours. Thank you for reading and for getting in touch. All the best. Karen

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  5. It’s good to write your all your favourite receipes down – it occurred to me that it would be a sensible idea to have them all together in one place to pass on for the future. Even if my Girls are not making them now they will remember eating them in the past and may find they want to make them at some time in the future, so it would be a shame if they were ‘lost’. Will writing this be the prompt I need…? Hope you and your Mum are fully recovered now Karen

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    • My niece, who has her own home and little family now, contacted me at Christmas for the “family trifle” recipe. She could have made any old trifle, but she wanted the one that we have made every Christmas since she was born. I’m so pleased that it matters to the next generation. It’s amazing how simple things like food brings back happy memories and keeps families connected. My recipes are all on scrappy pieces of paper. So this is my way of recording them for my family. I’m looking forward to seeing your recipes too Cathy. Your cakes were fabulous for your open gardens event.

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