24-year-old student Elly, from Cambridge, grew up hating cooking - but after waitressing in a local restaurant and fancying the chef everything changed! He taught her to experiment with food and since then she’s never looked back.
This recipe is unique as it combines crumble and cheesecake with that great British ingredient rhubarb.
400g rhubarb, cut into 2½cm lengths
50g caster sugar
1 drop red food colouring (optional)
1 tsp arrowroot mixed with 2 tsp cold water
300ml half fat crème fraîche
1½ tbsp runny honey
120g caster sugar
3 x large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprigs of mint to decorate (optional)
For the base:
60g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
18 x ginger nut biscuits, crushed
1 x egg white
For the crumble:
80g wholemeal flour
40g cold butter, cubed
40g demerara sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
1 tbsp cold water
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Butter a shallow 20cm (8in) springform cake tin.
2. Put the rhubarb into a baking dish with the sugar and water, toss together and bake for 25–40
minutes, depending on the thickness of the rhubarb, until tender.
3. Meanwhile, make the base. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then mix in the biscuits. Tip the
mixture into the prepared tin and press it down evenly with the back of a spoon. Brush with the
egg white and bake for 10 minutes, until golden and firm. Set aside to cool.
4. Mash the cooked rhubarb to a purée with a fork. Drain well, then add the food colouring (if using).
Pour in the arrowroot mixture and stir to thicken. Set aside to cool.
5. Put the ricotta, crème fraîche, honey, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor and whiz until combined. Transfer to a bowl and swirl the rhubarb purée through it with a
fork. Don't overmix – the idea is to create pink streaks.
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and put an empty roasting tin in the
bottom of it. Butter the sides of the cake tin again, then pour the ricotta mixture over the biscuit base. Cover the tin tightly with foil, then place in the oven and quickly pour a jug of cold water into the empty roasting tin. Close the oven door and bake for 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, make the crumble. Put the flour and butter in a bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, ginger and almonds, then gently stir in the water to form small ‘pebbles’ in the mixture.
8. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, discard the foil and spread the crumble mixture over the top of the cake. Remove the tray of water from the oven and increase the temperature to
190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Bake the cheesecake for a further 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in
the middle comes out clean. Set aside until cool, then refrigerate until needed. Remember to bring
it back to room temperature 30 minutes before serving: no one wants cold crumble! Decorate with mint sprigs if desired.