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Simnel Cheesecake

ingredients

serves 8
450 g marzipan
1 tsp saffron strands
1 tbsp boiling water
225 g curd or sieved cottage cheese
3 eggs, separated
few drops of vanilla essence
1/2 cup (100 g) 4 oz caster sugar (superfine granulated)
2 level tbsp plain flour (All purpose)
2/3 cup (150 ml) 1/4 pt double or whipping cream

for the topping

3 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
2/3 cup (150 ml) 1/4 pt soured cream

method

Preheat an oven to 160°C, 325°F, gas mark 3.

1. Grease a loose-bottomed 18 - 20 cm (7 - 8 inch) round cake tin.

2. Roll out about three-quarters of the marzipan into two thin rounds, each the same diameter as the cake tin. Reserve the remaining marzipan for decorating the cheesecake. Place one marzipan round in the tin.

3. Soak the saffron strands in the boiling water. Soften the cheese in a large mixing bowl, then beat in the egg yolks, vanilla essence, 50 g (2 oz) of the caster sugar, the flour, cream and strained saffron liquid.

4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then whisk in the remaining caster sugar.

5. Fold lightly but thoroughly into the cheese mixture.

6. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin, add the second marzipan round and cover with the remaining cheese mixture. Smooth the surface.

7. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours or until firm but still spongy to the touch.

8. Turn off the oven, open the door and leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.

9. Ease the sides of the tin carefully away from the cheesecake and lift the cheesecake out on the tin base.

10. Spread the top of the cheesecake with 2 x 15 ml spoons/2 tablespoons of the apricot jam, and then with the soured cream.

11. Divide the remaining marzipan into small balls, brush with the remaining jam and place around the edge of the cheesecake.

12. Brown the marzipan balls very quickly under a hot grill.

13. Chill the cheesecake for 3-4 hours before serving.

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