Recipe: Caramelised lime cheesecake with a mango and sweet chilli syrup

VALENTINE’S Day on the way provides a good excuse for Geoff Mastro, executive chef at The Merchant House in Hertford, to produce a romantic and classic dessert dish with a difference, with a cheesecake based on limes instead of lemons and an unusual syrup accompaniment, in line with his philosophy of keeping things simple but using strong flavours to lift his creations out of the ordinary.

Like the rest of his restaurant’s new menu, it reflects customer feedback over the 18 months since The Merchant House opened, with dishes designed to maintain an upmarket edge.

As general manager David Hozier explains, ‘We have adapted the menu as we have gone along based on customer feedback and we now have a fair idea of what our regulars like.’

The emphasis remains on fresh local produce with the addition on Friday and Saturday nights of a fresh shellfish menu as well as the usual line-up of soups, starters and grill items.

Caramelised lime cheesecake with a mango and sweet chilli syrup

Ingredients (serves 8-10)For the base200g digestive biscuits2g ground ginger40g unsalted butter

For the cheesecake6 limes, juice and zest300g cream cheese3 gelatine leaves100g cr�me fra�che125ml double cream

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For the syrup2 mangoes 1 chilli100g sugar1 pint water

The baseFirst blitz the digestives in a blender until very fine then add the ginger. Melt the butter down and add to the biscuits. Mix together until it forms a sticky consistency. Grease 8-10 metal rings. Place a tablespoon of the biscuit mix into each ring and press down to form the base. Ensure it is evenly spread. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

The cheesecakeGrate the limes into a saucepan along with the sugar, lime juice and 1 pint of water. Bring to the boil and reduce until the liquid starts to caramelise, then remove from the heat and chill down.

Mix the cream cheese and cr�me fra�che together, then fold the cream into the mixture. Add the caramelised lime. Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft then melt down to a liquid. Add to the cream cheese mixture while stirring quickly. Place in the rings on top of the base and refrigerate for 1 hour.

The mango and sweet chilli syrupPeel the mango and chop the chilli and place in a pan with water and sugar. Bring to the boil and reduce to half original volume, then blitz, pass off and leave to cool.

Remove the cheesecakes from the rings (with a blowtorch if you have one). Place on a plate, zest some lime over the cheesecake and then drizzle with the syrup.


BOOK A TABLE The Merchant House51 St Andrew StreetHertford SG14 1HZ01992