There are some typically Polish food specialities that I miss a lot. Perhaps you will think – she lives in UK and there are plenty of Polish delis. Yes, there are, but I have to travel a lot to the nearest one and it does not give me a wide and interesting selection of my favourites, never mind the unprofessional staff.
I miss a curd cheese (twaróg) a lot. I figured out to make my own; it tastes good but different from what I know from Poland. Every time I make my own curd cheese it ends up on homemade bread or I mix it with some fresh herbs, yogurt and vegetables such as cucumber or radishes. This is the reason why I bake cheesecakes using cream cheese rather than a traditional Polish curd cheese. I am not bothered about getting Philadephia, because cream cheese from any supermarkets brands is cheaper and good enough.
I also miss bilberries that grow in Polish woods. I live few miles from a wood but I have never seen any berries in it. So in the summer I try to comfort myself with some blueberries instead. They are very tasty, but not as tasty as bilberries. If I do not have what I love, I have to love what I have.
This cheesecake comforts me when I miss my Polish traditional cheesecake with bilberries. You can use fresh raspberries instead - it also tastes good.
Makes round 25cm springform tin
200g Digestive biscuits
80g unsalted butter
800g cream cheese
200g caster sugar
2 tbps custard powder
tsp vanilla extract
juice of half lemon
Line a springform tin with some kitchen foil, making sure the bottom is protected from water. I bake this cheesecake in bain-marie, which is a type of preparation used for protecting dishes requiring gentle heat from the fierce heat of the oven.
Crush the biscuits in a food processor (or put in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Mix with the melted butter. Press into springform tin and place in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Beat the cream cheese with the sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Next add eggs – one egg at the time, mix and add next egg when previous is mixed well with the cheese mixture.
Next add custard powder and mix, but make sure you do not overwork it – stop when custard is mixed into the cheese. Add the blueberries and mix gently with a spatula and pour the mixture into the tin.
Place the tin into an ovenproof dish and fill with hot water (about half of the size of the tin), cover with kitchen foil and bake for about 1 hour. Uncover for last 10 minutes. The middle will be a bit wobbly.
Let it to cool down in the open oven and then transfer to the fridge and leave it overnight.
I serve it with some fresh blueberries on top garnished with fresh mint leaves.