I do not know much about Australia besides the following facts: it has some of the deadliest creatures on earth, it's the home of the best shiraz in the world (thanks to all that great volcanic soil), they have kangaroos, and my longtime net pal Yuhan lives there.
So, in honor of this national holiday, I asked Yuhan (who happens to be a kitchen guru in his own right) to jot down one of his favorite recipes for me to share with you all today. Here it is:
[translations available in brackets]
500g Cream Cheese
300 ml Cream
250g Plain Biscuits
125g Butter, melted
Sponge Finger Biscuits
1 Punnet Strawberries [approximately 1 pint]
Dash of Sherry (or other fortified wine)
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
90g Icing Sugar
4 Tsp Sugar
Ginger Snap Biscuits
Lots of other berries
First make a Strawberry Syrup:
Halve/Quarter some of the larger strawberries (you will use them for presentation later). Place them in a saucepan. Add Sugar, Water and Sherry. Boil for a few minutes, leave it to cool.
Crumb Biscuits for the cheesecake base (digestive biscuits are great for this).
OPTION: crush some ginger snaps and pecans and add them to the mix.
Mix the biscuit crumbs with melted mutter. Press the mixture into the base of a medium spring base tin - put it into the fridge to harden.
Whisk cream cheese, cream, lemon juice, eggs and icing sugar until smooth.
Take the strawberries out of the syrup and place them on the cake base.
OPTION: add extra berries at this stage - blueberries work well here.
Pour half of the cheese mixture into the pan.
Dip sponge finger biscuits into the syrup and place them on top of the cake mix (they should rest on top of the cooked strawberries).
Mix the remaining syrup with the cheese mixture for colour and pour over the sponge biscuits.
Bake the cake @ 210 degrees Celsius [410 F] for 10 minutes, and then @160 degrees Celsius [320 F] for 45 minutes.
Note: The sponge finger biscuits are not essential, but give the cake another layer of texture and support the cake structure itself. It is possible to use other biscuits (like ginger snaps), but sponge fingers will hold their shape better due to their thickness. If using a different biscuit (or not using the sponge layer at all) the cake may still be custard-like in the centre after baking. In this case, place it in the fridge to set before serving.
Serving suggestions: dust with icing sugar and garnish cake slices with fresh mint.