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For the shortbread:
For the cheesecake:
For the roasted strawberries:
For the meringue:
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3 and line the base and sides of a 35 x 24 cm rectangular cake tin with baking parchment.
- To make the shortbread, beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour and lemon zest, then work the mixture until it forms a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to the lined tin and press it down evenly into all the corners using the back of a spoon. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden all over.
- Meanwhile, place the boiling water in a small heatproof jug. Sprinkle the gelatine powder into the jug and stir until the gelatine dissolves. Set aside for five minutes to cool.
- In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, caster sugar and vanilla until combined. With the mixer running, gradually add the double cream. While mixing, add the gelatine mixture until just combined. Pour half the cheesecake mixture onto the cooled shortbread base and set the other half aside. Place the shortbread in the fridge for one hour or until set.
- Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Combine the strawberries, honey, and thyme on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and toss to combine. Bake for 15 minutes until tender and syrupy, then set aside to cool.
- Once cool, chop the strawberries and add to the remaining cheesecake mixture. Beat until smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the set cheesecake layer. Place in the fridge for three more hours, or until set.
- To make the meringue, using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking continuously for about 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is smooth and thick — you should be able to upturn the bowl without the meringue falling out.
- Spoon or pipe the meringue mixture over the top of the shortbread. Return the tin to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the meringue forms a thin crust and browns slightly. You can also use a kitchen blowtorch for this step. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
- Once cool, carefully remove the meringue shortbread from the tin and decorate with halved strawberries, thyme and sprinkle with crushed freeze-dried strawberries. Cut into slices to serve.
Per serving: 523kcals, 36.2g fat (23.7g saturated), 43.8g carbs (30.5g sugars), 4.8g protein, 0.6g fibre, 0.181g sodium
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