Guest chef

Sarah Randell

Our very own food director, and former food editor to Delia Smith, Sarah has written more than 1000 recipes for the magazine. She is also author of the delightful baking book, Family Baking and Marmalade; A Bittersweet Cookbook.

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Mirror-glazed mincemeat cheesecake

  • Serves 14
  • Prep 1 hr
  • Total time 2 hrs 30 mins, plus cooling and chilling
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Mirror-glazed mincemeat cheesecake
Mirror-glazed mincemeat cheesecake

step by step

  • 1Preheat the oven to 170°C, fan 150°C, gas 3. Oil the inside of a 22cm-23cm round nonstick springform tin.
  • 2Melt the butter for the biscuit base and whiz the biscuits in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and briefly whiz again. Press firmly into the base of the tin and bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp, then allow to cool slightly.
  • 3In a mixing bowl, using a balloon whisk or an electric whisk on a low speed, whisk together all the ingredients for the mincemeat layer until combined. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Then, turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside with the door ajar until it is completely cold.
  • 4For the nut brittle, line a tray with baking paper. Tip the sugar into a small nonstick frying pan or saucepan and warm it over a low heat. Once about half of the sugar has liquefied, gently stir it until all the sugar has melted and you have a dark amber caramel. Stir in the chopped nuts, then tip the mix onto the baking paper and leave to cool and harden. Once the brittle is cold, break it into chunks, crushing some of it into smaller pieces using a rolling pin.
  • 5For the mascarpone cream, using an electric hand whisk, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until combined – you are aiming for the consistency of whipped cream. Spread the mixture on top of the cooled cheesecake and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Loosely cover the cheesecake and chill it to set the top layer. This will take a few hours, or you can leave it overnight.
  • 6For the chocolate mirror glaze, put the sheets of gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soak. Meanwhile, heat 125ml water in a small pan with the granulated sugar until it reaches 104°C (use a kitchen thermometer), stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then, take the pan off the heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate until smooth, followed by the cocoa powder and the cream. Lift the gelatine leaves from the water, squeeze out the excess water, then whisk them into the chocolate mixture. Once smooth, sieve the glaze into a jug and cool until it is barely warm; almost room temperature
  • 7Put the chilled cheesecake, in its tin, on top of a can (or something of a similar height) on a large baking tray. Release the clip on the tin, letting the ring fall away from the cheesecake. Remove the ring but leave the cheesecake elevated. Gently smooth the sides of the cheesecake with a palette knife. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake so it covers the top and the sides. Scrape any drips from the bottom of the cheesecake and, if you have any gaps on the sides, you can carefully fill them in with a palette knife. Leave the glaze to set for 15 minutes, then transfer the cheesecake to a large flat serving plate or board and return it to the fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight.
  • 8Decorate the chilled cheesecake with the nut brittle – we added this around the edge of the cheesecake.
  • You will need a kitchen thermometer for this recipe. This is a showstopper of a dessert that can be adapted to suit your needs. If you don't have time to make the mirror glaze, top the cheesecake with a ganache instead. Heat 100ml double cream to simmering point and tip onto 100g chopped dark chocolate mixed with a small knob of unsalted butter; stir until smooth. Cool the ganache until barely warm, then spoon it on top of the cheesecake (still in the tin) and chill until it has set. Or, for a really simple dessert, omit the mascarpone cream and the chocolate glaze and dust the baked cheesecake with sieved icing sugar or cocoa powder.
  • Recipe photograph by Ant Duncan

Get ahead

You can start making the cheesecake 2 days before you want to serve it; bake it in the morning, leave it to cool, then top it with the cream layer and chill overnight. The next day, glaze the cheesecake and chill it again overnight. You can make the nut brittle several days ahead and store it in a plastic lidded box. Decorate with the nut brittle just before serving.

You will need

For the biscuit base

  • a little groundnut or other flavourless oil, for greasing
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250g ginger nuts

For the mincemeat layer

  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 500g ricotta
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • 300g mincemeat

For the nut brittle

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 40g mixed nuts, roughly chopped

For the mascarpone cream

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 250g mascarpone
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • zest of 2 clementines

For the chocolate mirror glaze

  • 6 leaves Dr Oetker premium grade leaf gelatine
  • 225g granulated sugar
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 50ml double cream

+ Nutritional Information