The smoked salmon cheesecake is one of Donny's signature dishes - created for his 80th birthday bash!
Bolton couple and amateur dramatics fanatics Donny, 81, and Nora, 73, were in the world’s first amateur production of Oliver back in 1968, with Donny playing the Artful Dodger and Nora as Nancy.
Since they first laid eyes on each other at Walmsey Church Amateur Operatic Society they’ve never been apart and still love putting on a bit of theatrics, most recently in Jekyll and Hyde.
The duo love to entertain and decided to do their own catering for Donny’s 80th birthday. They wanted something extra special for their guests, so Donny created the Smoked Salmon Cheesecake. Nora is his biggest fan and looks forward to Donny’s exotic recipes. This is one of his signature dishes. He says: “It's colourful, outgoing and different”.
165g salmon, skinless
9g sachet of gelatine
200g smoked salmon
Zest of 1 lemon
115g mascarpone, at room temperature
400g cream cheese, at room temperature
For the base
160g oatcake biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs
½ tsp dried dill
For the lemon jelly
9g sachet of gelatine
125ml (4fl oz) water
85ml (3.fl oz) lemon juice
2 tbsp caster sugar
For the topping
8 lemon slices, peel and pith removed
8 tiger prawns
50g smoked salmon
Sprigs of fresh dill, to decorate (optional)
1. First make the base. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then take off the heat and mix in the biscuit crumbs and dill.
2. Place a 20cm (8in) flan ring on a flat serving plate and tip in the crumb mixture. Using a flat-bottomed tumbler, press the crumbs down evenly inside the ring, then place in the fridge while you make the topping.
3. To make the filling, bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan. Add the fresh salmon and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Discard the milk and set the fish aside to cool. Put the gelatine in a jug with the water and microwave until dissolved, taking care not to let it boil. Alternatively, sprinkle the gelatine over the same amount of hot water and stir briskly until dissolved. Place the jug in a bowl of iced water to cool, but do not allow the gelatine to set.
5. Put the smoked salmon, fresh salmon and lemon zest in a blender or food processor and whiz until combined to a rough texture. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, add the mascarpone, cream cheese and cooled gelatine and whisk together.
6. Spoon the mixture on to the chilled biscuit base, smooth the surface, then place in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes.
7. To make the lemon jelly, prepare the gelatine as before. When cool but not set, add the lemon juice and another 85ml (3¼fl oz) cold water.
8. Arrange the lemon slices evenly over the chilled cheesecake, then pour the cool lemon jelly over the surface. Return to the fridge for 4 hours or overnight, until set.
9. Decorate the cheesecake with the tiger prawns, smoked salmon and sprigs of dill, if liked, before serving.