White Chocolate & Cherry Cheesecake

An irresistible baked cheesecake from the Pepper & Me cookbook, Keepers.

"The tartness of the cherry makes this my favourite flavour
of baked cheesecake, but switch the cherries out for raspberries for a more classic combo. It's great for a dinner party — have
the cheesecake and compote made the day before, which makes for an easy last course."

Serves 8

400 g (14 oz) vanilla wine biscuits

200 g (7 oz) butter, melted

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) cream cheese

1 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

3 eggs

1 tablespoon cornflour

250 g (9 oz) sour cream

200 g (7 oz) white chocolate, melted

mint leaves, to serve

Cherry Compote

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) frozen pitted cherries

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon Bakers Blend, or a mix of half sugar and half salt

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F). Line a 26 cm (10½ in) cake tin with baking paper and grease well.

Pulse the biscuits in a blender or smash them in a sealable bag with a rolling pin—then stir through the melted butter. Press the biscuit crumb around the bottom and up the sides of the tin as firmly
as you can. Cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge while you get the filling ready.

Soften the cream cheese slightly. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment
fitted (or use hand-held electric beaters) and start to whip the cream cheese. Add the sugar and vanilla and keep whisking on a medium-high speed.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, then the cornflour. Add the sour cream and continue whisking
until everything is very well combined and the mixture is smooth. Turn the mixer off, drizzle
in the chocolate and fold through.

Remove the plastic wrap from the chilled biscuit base, and pour in the filling. Pop the cake tin
on a tray and into the oven for 1 hour until just set. Leave on the bench to cool completely,
then pop into the fridge to set—overnight ideally, but 4 hours minimum.

For the compote, put the frozen cherries, sugar and Bakers Blend in a saucepan. Simmer gently
for around 25 minutes until thick and syrupy. The compote can be made a day ahead and will
last for 7 days in the fridge.

To serve, cut the cheesecake into 8–10 slices and serve with a few generous spoonfuls
of the cherry compote.

Recipe from Keepers by Cherie Metcalfe
Photograph by Melanie Jenkins