Recipe of the week: baked vanilla cheesecake with apricot topping and mascarpone cream

Baked vanilla cheesecake
Baked vanilla cheesecake

This creamy, fruity version of the famous baked cheesecake has been conjured up by Lee Gaskins, head chef at Highgate House in Creaton.

Ingredients (serves 8):

Cheesecake base:

80g butter

200g Digestive biscuits

1x 22.5cm loose-bottomed, deep, round baking tin

Cheesecake filling:

500g cream cheese

3 medium eggs

175g caster sugar

Vanilla essence to taste

Cheesecake topping:

200g dried apricots

1 tbsp caster sugar or honey

1 star anise

1 whole clove

Half a vanilla pod

Finely grated zest of half an orange

Juice of 2 oranges

Splash Grand Marnier

Mascarpone cream:

125ml double cream

100g mascarpone cheese

1 tsp icing sugar

Half a vanilla pod


Preheat the oven to 150°C. Crush the biscuits and melt the butter, then add the melted butter to the biscuits and mix thoroughly. Line the base of the tin with the biscuit mix.

Beat the cheese a little to soften. Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence and mix gently until ingredients are just combined. Pour the mix over the base and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the filling is set in the centre.

For the apricot compote topping, place all ingredients into saucepan with 150ml of water, bring quickly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Leave the mixture to cool; it should be served at room temperature. All of the above can be prepared well in advance and refrigerated, the compote gently warmed when needed.

For the mascarpone cream, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Stir the mascarpone to soften it and fold it through the cream, being careful not to over-whip. Add and fold through the icing sugar. Split the vanilla pod in half, remove the seeds from one half and add these to the cream. The rest of the pod can be stored in caster sugar until needed: this also infuses the sugar.

Serve as shown.