Vanilla and ginger cheesecake recipe with roast pineapple

Neil Perry
Sunny dessert: Vanilla and ginger cheesecake with pineapple.
Sunny dessert: Vanilla and ginger cheesecake with pineapple. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Nut-free

Warning: This is a seriously creamy cheesecake. If pineapple is not your thing, it's also great with cooked apple sauce - or - for a fresh approach as we get into spring and summer, try using diced stone fruit, mangoes or berries.

Ingredients

For the base

175g digestive biscuits

50g unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 tbsp castor sugar

1 tbsp ground ginger

For the filling

3 vanilla pods, split

3 1/2 x 250g packets (875g) cream cheese

1 cup caster sugar

2 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

350ml thickened cream (35 per cent fat)

For the roast pineapple

1 large ripe pineapple

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup orange juice

1/3 cup honey

1 star anise

2 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon quill

Method

GREASE AND LINE a 24cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

FOR THE BASE, process biscuits in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl, then add melted butter, caster sugar and ground ginger. Stir to combine. Press mixture evenly into the base of the lined cake tin. Place in fridge to chill for an hour.

PREHEAT OVEN to 110C.

FOR THE FILLING, scrape seeds out of vanilla. Reserve pods. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla seeds for 10-15 minutes until all lumps are gone and sugar is incorporated. Add yolks and eggs and beat for a further 2 minutes. Add cream and mix until just combined; it should have a smooth, and slightly thick yet runny consistency.

POUR FILLING into the tin lined with the biscuit base. Bake for 90 minutes.

REMOVE TIN from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in fridge until cold and firm.

FOR THE PINEAPPLE, preheat oven to 180°C. Peel, core and cut pineapple lengthways into 12 wedges.

STIR TOGETHER sugar, orange juice and honey in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Bruise spices and add to mix along with reserved vanilla pods. Add pineapple and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Place pineapple on roasting tray lined with baking paper. Reserve marinade.

ROAST PINEAPPLE for 15 minutes. Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelised, another 10-15 minutes. Drizzle remaining marinade over pineapple; allow to cool slightly.

REMOVE CHEESECAKE from tin and cut into 12 portions using a hot, clean knife. Serve with the spiced roast pineapple and its sauce.

Photography WIlliam Meppem; Jennifer Soo  Styling Hannah Meppem  Food preparation Nick Banbury