Prunes soaked in Armagnac make this a very rich, decadent cheesecake. Don’t forget to soak the prunes the night before or longer if possible.
- 175g (6oz) Dark chocolate Digestives, finely crushed
- 75g (3oz) butter, melted
- 175g (6oz) ready to eat dried prunes, quartered and soaked overnight in 75ml (3fl oz) Armagnac or brandy
- 150g (5oz) plain chocolate
- 300g (10oz) cream cheese at room temperature
- 75g (3oz) caster sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- 4 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water
- 2 tbsp milk
- 150ml (1/4 pt) sour cream
- 50g (2oz) plain chocolate, grated to decorate
- Crème fraiche to serve
You will need:
- a 20cm (8in) spring-form tin, base lined with baking parchment
If you want to make a plain chocolate cheesecake, omit the prunes and Armagnac and stir 50g (2oz) plain chocolate chips into the cheesecake mixture after the sour cream. Always remove cheesecakes from the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving to allow the full flavour to develop.
Heat oven to 180C, 160C fan, 350F, gas 4. Place the biscuits and butter in a bowl and stir well then press into the base of the tin. Bake the base for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water to melt, stirring occasionally.
Place the cream cheese, caster sugar and egg yolks in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, when hot, remove from the heat, squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves, and swirl the pan until dissolved. Pour onto the cream cheese mixture beating well. Stir in the warm chocolate until thoroughly combined. Fold in the sour cream and the soaked prunes and any juices. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold in. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined then pour the mixture on top of the base. Give the tin a couple of sharp taps on the worktop to remove any air pockets and smooth the surface. Chill the cheesecake for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
To serve, sprinkle the top of the cheesecake with the grated chocolate. Run a round bladed knife around the outside of the tin and remove the cheesecake. Slice into thin slices and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche. The cheesecake will keep for 3 days, covered in the fridge.