Plum and Nectarine Cheesecake

This amazing baked cheesecake tastes divine topped with luscious South African plums and nectarines.

For the biscuit base:
A little melted butter or vegetable oil, for greasing
60g butter
150g digestive biscuits, crushed
1tbsp caster sugar

For the filling:
3 x 250g packs full fat soft cheese
200g caster sugar
3tbsp cornflour
1 lemon
1tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
3 large eggs
150ml double cream

For the decoration:
2 South African plums, pitted and sliced
2 South African nectarines, pitted and sliced
Mint sprigs (optional)

Adjust the oven shelves – you need to bake the cheesecake in the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan oven 160°C, Gas Mark 4. Brush the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) spring-form cake tin with melted butter or vegetable oil, then line with baking paper.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, taking care that it doesn’t get too hot. Add the biscuit crumbs and caster sugar and stir well to mix with the butter. Tip into the cake tin and press into an even layer. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Increase the oven temperature to 220°C, fan oven 200°C, Gas Mark 9. In a large bowl, beat the soft cheese for a few seconds with a hand-held electric mixer on a low speed. Gradually add the caster sugar on a medium-low speed. Sprinkle in the cornflour and beat again for a few seconds.

Using a fine grater, grate in the lemon zest. Add 1tbsp lemon juice, stir it in, then add the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Add the eggs a little at a time to the cheesecake mixture, beating between each addition on a medium-low speed. Add the double cream, folding it in with a large metal spoon to give a smooth, light, quite thick consistency.

Tip the filling over the biscuit base. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 110°C, fan oven 90°C, Gas Mark ¼. Bake for 35 minutes. The cheesecake should wobble slightly in the centre. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. Cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, decorate the cheesecake with the sliced South African plums and nectarines, adding a few mint sprigs if wished.

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