Sometimes in life you come across little brick walls. Barricades that have ‘dangerous’, ‘do not cross’ or ‘don’t even try it, you idiot’ written all over them. At times like this there is something in my head that automatically goes ‘Oh, you think so, do you?’. The challenge in question here was whether you can make a gin cheesecake. And yes, yes you most definitely can. Gin cheesecake is definitely a thing.
Whilst having a conversation with friends one day we ended up talking about food and gin (not exactly rare topics of conversation in my life) and eventually we ended up on cheesecake. I then – somewhat stupidly – wondered aloud whether or not these two great things could be brought together in to one gin cheesecake themed utopia. There were some uneasy faces round the table, and some ‘I don’t really know, but it sounds delicious’ remarks. Clearly some research and, perhaps, an experiment was in order.
The result – it’s an absolute belter. There are forums online that say a non-baked gin cheesecake is impossible because the gin will cause it to split or that you can’t include enough to give it a full flavour and it still set. This isn’t true at all.
What you get in the end is a dessert that you will make time and time again, and one you’ll quite happily have ready when friends are over for dinner.
But how to overcome the ‘can’t hold enough gin’ issue? Having pondered the predicament a little I turned to a friend for some advice. Her suggestion – to use mascarpone (as opposed to cream cheese) as “it can take more alcohol“. Clearly the most important factor here.
Using mascarpone instead of cream cheese is the key to really making this recipe work. It’s thicker and also gives a great flavour to balance out the gin. You can use cream cheese, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re using alcohol.
For this gin cheesecake, I’ve also added in some lime to the recipe. Not only because lime cheesecakes are delicious, but also because it pairs nicely with the gin as well. It will add an extra layer of tang and flavour to your cheesecake and comes highly recommended (other citrus fruits like lemon or pink grapefruit will also work).
I was also – probably not particularly surprising for those who know me – fairly liberal with the gin. I didn’t really measure it, I just kept adding it into the mix until it tasted about right, so the recipe below can take more gin than it suggests. Beware though, it matures a little more once the mixture has settled – you have been warned.
This recipe is a The Usual Saucepans original! It’s great to make if you’ve friends coming over and you want something a little different. Anyone that tells you ‘gin can’t go in cheesecake!’ is a liar. Fact. It serves about 8 people – or two, if they’re very greedy and have a couple of days to lose. I make mine in a springform cake tin, so make it easier to get out when it’s set.
- 8 digestive biscuits
- 6 tbsp caster sugar
- 80g unsalted butter
- 1 shot of tonic (optional).
- 400g mascarpone
- 7 tbsp icing sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- zest of half to the whole lime (depending on taste/gin levels)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 600 ml double cream
- 25ml gin (or more depending on taste).
Put butter and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently. Crush the biscuits roughly using a food processor (or the end of a rolling pin) and add them in, removing the pan from the heat and stirring gently. Add the tonic in three lots, ensuring that the base doesn’t go mushy – it should be slightly crumbly.
In a large bowl, gently stir the mascarpone to loosen it and then add the lime juice and part of the jest to it along with the icing sugar and vanilla. Pour the gin in slowly, ensuring that the mixture doesn’t get too runny (if it does, either stop adding gin or add mascarpone – the decision is yours).
Whip the cream into firm peaks, including the rest of the zest, before gently folding into the mascarpone mixture, ensuring the mixture stays fairly solid.
Put both the crumbly base and the gin-infused cheese-mix into a dish and chill in the fridge for at least four hours. If you are feeling very adventurous you can line ramekins with cling film and put the mixture in upside down (i.e. base at the top) so that you can tip them onto plates to serve.
Enjoy with friends.
Used in this recipe: