There was a time when the overzealous student I was thought that the more complex the vocabulary and more convoluted the sentence structure I could use to articulate my ideas, the more intelligent I would seem. Then there was a time when I admired the clarity in my peers’ simplicity of speech. And then there was a time when I faced the struggle of communicating in my third language on an everyday basis where I was forced to deliver my thoughts in their most bare, naked state because I had lacked the linguistic dexterity.
What I’ve learnt: quality of thought cannot be masked; obfuscation is not embellishment.
The process of learning a foreign language can be mightily humbling. As a candid person who deliberates over which words to use in order to convey my feelings most accurately down to the subtlest of nuances, having an insufficient range of vocabulary at my disposal was frustrating. Is frustrating, although now to a smaller degree, thankfully. I had to communicate in a way in which I could neither express nor hide my personality. I felt like a child. But the silver lining is that I was made to reconsider my style of communication – there is more impact in substance of speech when you’re talking to non-native speakers of the language that you are using. There is more impact when you know what you mean and you mean what you say. Period.
I had no idea what sort of story would accompany this recipe at the point when I was baking the cheesecake, but how fitting that the dessert of the day is something super straightforward in terms of both assembly process and taste. This recipe is for those who prefer their cheesecake on the less tangy and more refreshing side of the flavour equation. Tip: use a food processor for the most compact of biscuit bases and silkiest consistency of batter.
No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
makes a 7 inch cake
For the crust:
100 grams graham biscuits, crushed finely in a food processor (pulverize them, literally)
50 grams unsalted butter, melted
1 to 2 tablespoons cream
For the cheesecake batter:
200 grams cream cheese
60 grams sugar
200 grams plain yoghurt
200 ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
7 grams powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons water
For the decoration (optional):
a mix of halved and whole strawberries
Make the crust: Mix the biscuit crumbs and melted butter together. Add between 1 to tablespoons of cream if the mixture is looking a little dry. Transfer into a 7 inch round pan with a removable bottom and press the crumbs firmly into the base of the pan. Refrigerate while you make the batter.
Make the cheesecake batter: Place the 2 tablespoons of water in a small, microwavable bowl and evenly sprinkle the gelatin powder over the surface of the water. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before microwaving until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside.
Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the yogurt and blend until incorporated. Add the heavy cream and blend until smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and dissolved gelatin.
Line the inner perimeter of the pan with the halved strawberries, cut side facing outwards. Try to arrange the strawberries as close to one another as possible. Pour the batter into the pan. Refrigerate the cake overnight.
The next day, let the cake sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before unmolding the cake. Decorate with more strawberries, if desired; serve.
Recipe adapted from here.