Friday, August 16, 2013

Steve, the British Geologist's Cheesecake

This recipe did not come from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook. It came from the blog of Steve K., one of my daughter's professors in the UK. The recipe presented certain issues, beginning with the title. The way I wrote the title, it looks like the cheesecake is named Steve. In fact, the geologist is named Steve.  I suppose I could have entitled it, The Cheesecake of Steve, the British Geologist. That sounds to me like the famous quotation from Winston Churchill, "That is the kind of pedantic nonsense up with which I will not put."
Anyhow, apparently Professor K. does not, in his cooking life, believe in measurements, although I am sure that in his scientific work, he is extremely exact.  (I am omitting his name to protect the innocent, namely me, from the wrath of my daughter lest the good professor google himself and discover that some US food blogger, and the mother of one of his students, had been making fun of him on the Internet.)` His recipe is all put in a medium this and some of that and never add Marmite to cheesecake. (As if.)
 So, on Sunday morning with the family and friends coming over in the evening to welcome my daughter back home, I had to actually create the recipe. This is a good recipe, once suitably doctored with vanilla, sugar and unflavored gelatin. One of its more delicious features is using gingersnaps to make the crust. This is really good. If I ever made a recipe more than once, I would definitely always use gingersnaps for a cheesecake crust.
Doctor K. uses double cream, which is not readily available in the US. I think it's kind of like clotted cream, which teeters at the border between whipped cream and butter. I used heavy whipping cream. This makes for messy mixing up, so wear an apron. Relatively firm cream cheese splashes the cream around until the two are blended. Perhaps because of the double cream. his cheesecake recipe does not call for gelatin. The filling is to sit in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours until it sets. This seemed kind of dubious to me. I wanted my cheesecake to come out in slices, not just be glopped on a plate because it wouldn't set. So I added gelatin.
The end product received rave reviews and minor regret that I never make the same recipe twice. I definitely recommend it.  Don't use Steve's version unless you are a real seat of your pants cook. Since I won't tell you where to find it, using it will be difficult in any case.

The British Geologist Steve's Cheesecake

1/4 cup boiling water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
15 gingersnaps
1/4 cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
16 ounce can of peaches in heavy syrup (Heavy syrup is important. Don't use lite.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peach syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Set it aside to cool. When it is lukewarm, put the gelatin in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
2. Drop the gingersnaps into a resealable plastic bag, and roll them out with a rolling pin. Don't make the crumbs too tiny. Steve thinks tiny crumbs make a poor crust.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the gingersnap crumbs to the melted butter. Press the buttered crumbs into a buttered pie pan and chill in the refrigerator.
4. Mix the cream cheese and the heavy cream. This tends to be a splashy process.
5. Open the can of peaches and drain out half a cup of syrup. Add the syrup to the cream cheese mixture along with the half a cup of sugar and the vanilla.
6. Look at the gelatin dissolved in water. It should be slightly thicker than water, like egg whites. It should not be set. Pour the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Add half the canned peaches, cut up in small pieces.
7. Pour the mixture into the gingersnap pie crust and smooth it out so you can't see the peach bits. Then, take the rest of the canned peaches and lay them on top of the creamed cheese mixture in a pleasingly artistic pattern.
8. Cover the pie and put it into the refrigerator to chill for 7 or 8 hours. Serves nine.


  1. HA! You may have to let some of your closer followers in on where the original recipe exists and how your daughter got access to it.