Kiwi Christmas cheesecake

by Andy Bryenton

Translating the hearty, hot and sometimes heavy Yuletide fare of the northern hemisphere to our summery festive season has never been easy. Some opt to ignore the temperature and serve up a feast fit for a medieval king at midwinter. Others opt for the full barbecue and miss out on turkey and plum pudding. However, there’s a middle way, as exemplified by this recipe.

There are three parts to this dish — the base, the filling and the topping. To complete all three you’ll need; two tubs of premixed cheesecake filling, a dash of vanilla essence, one packet of shortbread biscuits, 100gm of butter, eight single shots of dark or spiced rum, two dessert spoons of grated preserved ginger, cinnamon to taste, a generous handful of pitted or glace cherries, a small bottle of cream (or canned whipped cream) and a medium-sized metal pan.

Line the pan with baking paper and chill. Take the shortbreads, bag them, and strike with a rolling pin until they are crumbled. Melt the butter, add four shots of rum, a sparing sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla.

Pour the butter mixture over the shortbread crumbs in the pan to form a base as thick as your index finger. Allow this to chill and set while making the filling. That is easily accomplished by mixing the preserved ginger, a little more cinnamon and the four further shots of rum into the cheesecake filling. Those with a sweet tooth may want to blend a little extra icing sugar into the mix, though rum can be quite sweet, depending on which distillery it comes from.

Once the mix is well stirred and whipped with a fork to aerate, spread evenly on the base.

Chill, until the top can be studded with cherries pressed half-way into the filling. Chill through in the refrigerator, covered.

Garnish with whipped cream before serving. Those who wish to avoid using pre-made cheesecake filling can manufacture a delicious substitute using finely sifted sugar, cream cheese, full cream and a small amount of vanilla seeds.