The Rio Olympics have just finished and Team GB did amazingly well: congratulations to all our athletes. And now that it’s over, people all over the country are inspired to get out and do some sport. For at least a week or two, anyway. Sport is not my strong point and it’s not often I feel like I have achieved anything sports-wise amongst my friends. Somehow I have friends who not only do a lot of sport, but are also particularly good at it. But then maybe we’re friends because sport burns a lot of calories and I can offer a plentiful supply of cake…
So it made a nice change to be at a barbecue and not feel a complete lack of achievement because I hadn’t just done the Ride 100, a 100 mile bike ride from London out through the Surrey Hills, like Vana and Suze; or run up the stairs of one of the tallest towers in Kuala Lumpur like Frin… Luckily I had done the almost-28-mile Surrey Hills Hike with Karyn and vaguely felt like I belonged! If you think 28 miles sounds like a long way to walk, that’s because it is. And if you think it doesn’t sound like a particularly long way to walk, maybe give it a go! The first two thirds of marathon walks are generally relatively easy and the final part is the bit where you completely lose your sense of humour and just want it to end, so it really helps to be doing it for a good cause. It was organised to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and they did an amazing job of supporting all the hikers, down to hot food and a glass of prosecco at the finish line. So it was lucky that Frin – personal trainer, Cross Fit addict and lover of sporting challenges – was visiting from Malaysia that week and not any other…
Strictly speaking this is not a Key Lime pie or cheesecake as my limes are just regular limes, but it is a cheesecake version of a key lime pie: Lime Cheesecake just doesn’t sound as good! I didn’t add any sugar because condensed milk is already very sweet but you could always add some if you find you prefer it sweeter. I also used a little bit of gelatine as I was taking it to my friend’s house and wanted it to cut better, but it is optional: it depends whether or not you mind it collapsing a bit when you serve it, and if you are vegetarian you can always use agar-agar or another substitute.
150g digestive biscuits
75g butter, melted
750g cream cheese (I used 250g ricotta, 500g cream cheese)
397g tin of condensed milk
Zest and juice of 4 limes (about 75ml)
Line the base of a 9″ loose-based tin with baking parchment.
Make the base: put the digestive biscuits into a large, clean plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until they are in fine crumbs, or pulse in a food processor. Tip into a bowl.
Melt the butter. Pour over the biscuit crumbs and mix well.
Tip into the prepared tin and distribute evenly. Press down with the back of a spoon to make sure that the biscuit base is very compact and even.
Put the base into the fridge to chill while you are making the filling.
Make the filling:
Put the cream cheese and condensed milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until it becomes thick and creamy: the whisk should leave a trail in the mixture.
If you are not using gelatine, add the lime zest and juice and mix to combine.
If you are using gelatine, use the amount of powder or number of sheets as required by the packet. If using sheet gelatine, soak in cold water before using. Heat the lime juice until just below boiling point and add your gelatine, stirring well to make sure it has all dissolved properly. If necessary you can strain it. Allow to cool slightly so that it doesn’t just melt the cream cheese mixture (but not so much that it seizes as soon as you add it). Add the zest and juice to the cream cheese mixture and mix together thoroughly.
Tip the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly.
Allow to set for at least four hours in the fridge before removing from the tin.
You can decorate it with more lime zest or just leave it as it is.