If you’ve got broken biscuits in the bottom of the biscuit tin - the odd ginger biscuit, the odd cookie that’s lost its way! - you can always throw those into the base.
Crunchy honeycomb, dusted with black pepper, is a great extra to this indulgent dessert, but you can leave the pepper off if you prefer.
- 200 gm (7 oz) digestive biscuits (see Note)
- 56 gm (2 oz) butter, melted
- 125 gm (4½ oz) blackberries (plus extra to serve, optional)
- 10 gm (⅓ oz / 2 tsp) caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 500 gm (1lb 2oz) full-fat cream cheese
- 3 eggs
- Juice of half a lemon
- 75 ml (2½ fl oz) double (thick) cream
- 56 gm (2 oz) plain flour
- 196 gm (7 oz) caster sugar
- 35 gm (1.2 oz) honey
- 70 gm (2½ oz) liquid glucose
- 200 gm (7 oz) caster sugar
- Splash of water
- 20 gm (0.7 oz / 2 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
- Freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 130°C / 250°F / Gas ½. Line a 20cm / 8in spring-form cake tin.
For the cheesecake base, blitz biscuits in a food processor until crumb like. Melt biscuit crumbs with melted butter. Press biscuit mixture into the bottom of the lined tin and place in the fridge to set.
For the blackberry purée, place the berries and sugar into a pan along with a splash of water and simmer over a medium-low heat until the berries break down and become tender (about 10 minutes). Blend to a smooth puree in a food processor, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Set aside to cool.
For the cheesecake filling, scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod and beat into the cream cheese. Whisk the eggs, lemon juice and cream in a jug. Add half of the egg mixture to the cream cheese and mix together until smooth and well combined.
Add the flour and sugar to the cream cheese mixture, then add the rest of the egg mixture and mix until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin. Drizzle the cooled blackberry puree over the cheesecake mix and bake for 40 minutes, or until just set. Set aside to cool.
For the honeycomb, place a silicone mat onto a large baking tray.
Place the honey, liquid glucose, caster sugar and water into a large, deep-sided pan and heat until the mixture reaches 150C/300F on a sugar thermometer.
Swiftly stir in the bicarbonate of soda (be careful as the mixtures volume will bubble and expand rapidly), and pour onto silicone mat. Grind over fresh black pepper and allow to cool and harden.
To serve, break honeycomb into pieces. Carefully run a knife around the outside of the cheesecake and then remove from the tin. Serve cheesecake with honeycomb.
• You could use Nice or Granita biscuits if you can’t find digestive biscuits.