A baked cheesecake with all the spices and fruits of Christmas – plus a little festive booze thrown in!
- 125g (4½oz) dried figs, finely chopped
- 75g (3oz) dried sultanas
- 50g (2oz) dried cranberries
- 75ml (3fl oz) Calvados
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 500g (1lb 2oz) cream cheese
- 150g (5oz) golden caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract and a grating of fresh nutmeg
- 200g (7oz) mascarpone
- 50ml (2fl oz) single cream
- 2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
- 150g (5oz) digestive biscuits, finely crushed
- 50g (2oz) toasted flaked almonds, finely ground
- 50g (2oz) butter, melted
- 150ml (¼pt) crème fraîche
- glacé cherries, to decorate
- 20cm (8in) round cake tin, greased and the base lined with baking parchment
Place the dried fruit in a small saucepan with the Calvados and cinnamon stick, and leave over a low heat for 5 minutes to infuse. Set aside to soak up the remaining liquid and to cool.
Heat the oven to 170C, 150C fan, 325F, gas 3. To make the base, place the biscuits, almonds and butter in a bowl, mix well then spread out over the base of the tin, and press to fit. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and set aside to cool.
To make the filling, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, mascarpone, cream and eggs. Beat until combined then fold in the dried fruit, along with the soaking liqueur, but discard the cinnamon stick. Pour into the tin and smooth. Give it a few taps on the worktop to remove any air bubbles. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven once the cheesecake is set but still has a slight wobble. Run a knife around the edges to loosen it. Leave to cool for 6 hours, or preferably overnight. As soon as it is cool enough, put into the fridge.
To serve, spread the crème fraîche over the top of the cake and decorate with glacé cherries