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Thursday 10 April 2014

Baking for Beginners: London Cheesecake

London cheesecake has nothing to do with (a) London, (b) cheesecake, (c) cheese or (d) cake. I imagine a chap from Ealing going abroad in 1952 and his friends saying, "hey, Dave - what's this cheesecake concoction we hear so much about?", and him confidently saying "why, I shall make you one!", only to realise he has no clue where to begin and simply mashing together everything he finds in the fridge before presenting it as "London cheesecake".

It's more like a flaky pastry Bakewell tart: crisp puff pastry filled with velvety almond cream and a healthy dollop of jam. And so ludicrously easy to make that you could make them with with bored kids over the Easter break.

You can join the London Cheesecake Facebook page and follow the current debate raging about whether jam is or isn't acceptable. It's like the Devon and Cornwall scone wars all over again (jam first or cream first? Will there ever be peace in our time?).

London Cheesecake
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

You will need:
  • 50g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g ground almonds
  • Packet of puff pastry
  • A jar of your favourite jam
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g dessicated coconut
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Start by making the frangipane. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and almonds and set aside.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry to 2-3mm thick. Cut it into 6 pieces lengthways, and then halve all of them horizontally. Put 6 pieces on the baking tray.
  4. Place a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each piece and spread it out evenly, leaving a gap around the edges. Add a blob of frangipane pieces and spread it on top. Cover each with another piece of pastry.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until well-risen and golden brown.
  6. While they're cooling, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then gradually stir in enough water to make a smooth, thin icing. When the so-called "cheesecakes" are cool, dip the tops into the icing, and then into a bowl of dessicated coconut. Eat!


  1. This is confusing and incredible all at once. Also enjoying that you need a whole jar of jam.

    1. I had a small jar of jam I'd stolen from a hotel. That was plenty for a thin layer in each one.

    2. (I love tiny hotel things.)

  2. This is my favourite pastry ever. For several years I thought I'd imagined it as I have never seen it available for purchase in Leicester (there is a noticeable lack of bakeries here) and I kept referring to it as cheesecake bit NOT CHEESECAKE - nobody ever knew what I meant. This is definitely my Saturday plan.

    1. Really curious about where the name comes from now.


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