This cheesecake has become a bit of a festive tradition for me (we always have Christmas pudding, trifle and another pudding I’m in charge of), but you can of course make it at any time of year. And of course, my traditions will very soon be replaced by new ones Charles and I make ourselves.
You will need:
125g or so Digestive biscuits
125g or so of butter
2 large tubs Philadelphia cream cheese (280g each)
1 medium sized tub double cream (300ml)
Around 80g icing sugar, depending on your taste
75ml Baileys or unbranded Irish Cream Liqueur
100g milk chocolate
Additional chocolate or sprinkles to decorate – I used a 150g bar of dark chocolate, some cherries and some gold confetti sprinkles but you can go as mad or as understated as you’d like
A large round springform tin
1. Put the Digestives into a freezer or sandwich bag, seal the top and bash them up with a rolling pin or anything heavy. You should aim for mostly even crumbs with a few small lumps to keep things interesting.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low to medium heat. This is just to bind the base so you don’t need to go mad with heat.
3. Once the biscuits have been suitably bashed up and the butter has melted, tip the biscuits into the butter and mix until the crumbs have been evenly coated in butter and look like they’ll hold together when chilled. If it looks a bit dry, you can push the crumbs to the side, add more butter to melt and mix up again.
4. Tip the crumb mixture into the tin and press it down into the tin, spreading it out as evenly as possible.
7. Set that aside and pop the cream cheese into a bowl. Give it a quick mix to loosen it then add around half of the icing sugar and the Baileys. You can use more or less Baileys depending on your taste, but adding more than 50ml or so is likely to give you a looser filling which is harder to serve. I used about 75ml by the time I as finished swigging and that was about the edge of tolerance. If in doubt, use less, mix, taste then add more if necessary. Add a little more icing sugar, mix together and taste. If you are happy with that, leave it be.
8. Grate the chocolate. If your hands are relatively cold, this should be easy, but if you are in a warm environment I’d recommend chilling the chocolate in the fridge first to avoid it melting in your hand. Or use a larger bar than necessary and keep the wrapper on the unused portion to avoid sticky fingers. I use milk chocolate because the texture is softer and gives a subtler constrast to the smooth filling, but you can by all means use dark or even white if you prefer, or, of course, skip the chocolate altogether.
9. Stir in the grated chocolate, and then you have your cheesecake filling.