The grape glut continues. Last week a savoury dish of goats cheese and roast grapes was in order. This week calls for something sweet. And something that uses A LOT of grapes. (There’s at least 3 kilos left.) But grapes and cheese is such a winning combo that it has lodged itself in my brain like the culinary equivalent of a musical ear worm. Every time I think, “what shall I do with these grapes?” my brain can’t help but think, “brie, cheddar, goats cheese, cream cheese…..” A-ha! Cream cheese. Cheesecake. With a sweet but zingy grape syrup drizzled over it. Tangy cheese meets toothsome grape in pudding form. Now there’s a thought…

 

Grape syrup cheesecake

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 6

Grape syrup cheesecake

A classic, no-bake cheesecake made a bit more unusual with tangy grape syrup. This simple dessert looks great but it's super simple to make. The grape syrup is brilliant for pancakes and cocktails too.

    For the syrup:
  • 1.5kg red grapes, stalks removed
  • 500g caster sugar
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 75g butter
  • 185g digestive biscuits
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 120g creme fraiche
  • 230g double cream
  • 2tsp vanilla bean paste
  1. Start by making the syrup. Put the grapes in a large sauce pan, lid on, and set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until completely dissolved. They take a few minutes to release their juices and sometimes benefit from a bit of a mash 5 minutes in, but they will release lots of juice so don't be tempted to add extra water.
  2. Pour the grape mush into a sieve lined with a muslin cloth set over a bowl (or, if you have one, use a jelly strainer) and allow the grape juice to drip into the bowl below. This takes an hour or so.
  3. Pour the grape juice into a saucepan and add the caster sugar. Dissolve the sugar in the juice over a low heat then turn the heat up and simmer for 10 minutes. The syrup will reduce and get thicker. Pour the hot syrup into 2 sterilised jars or bottles and leave to cool. I find I get about a litre of syrup. It will keep for several weeks assuming your sterilising is good and you'll only need some of it for the cheesecake so keep the rest to drizzle over pancakes, use in cocktails or add to fizzy water.
  4. For the cheesecake, melt the butter in a saucepan while you crush the biscuits to a rough sand. Mix the butter and the biscuit sand together, making sure every bit of biscuit is coated. Press this mixture into an 18cm loose-bottomed cake tin, compressing it down to make a flat base, then refrigerate for at least an hour to set.
  5. For the topping, mix the cheese, icing sugar, creme fraiche, cream and vanilla together and whisk until thick.
  6. Once you're ready to assemble everything, release the biscuit base from the cake tin and set in on a cake stand. Spoon the vanilla mixture on top and use a spatular to spread it evening and neatly over the base, smoothing the edges and top. Drizzle some grape syrup over the cheesecake and serve immediately.
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