Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lemon Cotswold

Leafing through an old cookbook, a recipe catches my eye.  Or, more accurately, the name attracts me -  Lemon Cotswold.

I love lemons.  I think I love the Cotswolds ( but I can’t be sure, I’ve only been there once. 

This is essentially a lemon cheesecake. Not as evocative a name as Lemon Cotswold, I know.  

Sometimes I find cheesecakes a bit heavy.  This one has a whipped, creamy lemon topping – all light and soufflé-like. 

First point to note
: this recipe made a lot of filling.  The recipe said to fill the biscuit lining.  It did not say to pile it high.  There was no photo to guide me.  Unless I was heading for the leaning tower of lemon, (you may want to go there), there was no way I could use the full amount, so I froze the leftovers.  I was happy with the amount I used (see photo) but you could use the entire filling and stack it up high.

Since making this recipe, I spotted a similar one whilst browsing through a cookbook at work (the ones that come in every few weeks for sale at some ridiculously low price when you’ve paid a fortune for it back in its prime).  It had a picture of a lemon cheesecake with the topping piled high on the base.

Second point to note: I swapped the digestive biscuits for ginger nuts.  I’m not being original.  People do this all the time.  Choose your preference.  I just liked the idea of lemon and ginger – kind of reminded me of my soothing herbal tea.  However, ginger nuts being the kind of tooth-breaking biscuits they are, try not to layer them too thick on the base and sides.

Lastly, the recipe stated half a large tin of evaporated milk.  Well, chef, just how big were tins of evaporated milk back then? I figured I’d use half of a normal sized tin of today – that being half of 375ml – work it out, I’m useless at maths.  It seemed to work.

As for the frozen leftover topping – I have no idea how well this will freeze but I feel a Lemon Cotswold Frozen Dessert coming on….

Lemon Cotswold

115g butter, melted                             2 lemons (1 large or two small should suffice)
250g (1 packet) ginger nut biscuits      170g Philadelphia (cream) cheese
(or use digestives)                              230g caster sugar                   
1 lemon jelly                                       ½ of a 375ml tin of evaporated milk (chilled)
6 fl oz water, boiled

Line the bottom of a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.  I normally cut a circle slightly larger than the detachable base.  Place the circle of baking paper over the base before clipping the top on.  That way it sits neatly across the bottom.  Melt the butter and while it is cooling, crush the biscuits (either put them in a plastic bag and bash a rolling pin on top of them or, take the easy route and blitz them in your food processor).  Pour in the melted butter and mix to combine.   Place the biscuit mixture in the cake tin as evenly as possible, bringing the mixture up the side of the tin.

Dissolve the jelly in the hot water and squeeze the lemons.  Cream together the cheese and sugar in a cake mixer with a beater paddle (or by hand with a wooden spoon) until light.   Beat in the jelly and lemon juice.

Whisk the chilled, evaporated milk as stiff as possible and fold it into the cheese mixture.  Fill the biscuit base with as much as you want and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

The recipe is one of a collection of recipes from The Good Cook’s Guide (1974) – and originally came from the chef at the Tudor Rose in East Horsley.


  1. I love the Cotswolds, spent a lot of time there when we lived in the UK, and I LOVE the look of this cheesecake, yum:) something as rich needs a tangy flavour like lemon to cut through or it is just to cloying. Nice work decifering the recipe to!

  2. Thanks - I wish I'd seen more of the Cotswolds....

    I've still got some of the cheesecake topping that I froze - must rescue it and see if it works as a frozen dessert!

  3. This sounds great Lesley. It reminds me of some of the Key Lime Pie recipes I have out of some of my American cook books. But this seems less cloying so I'll be trying it!

  4. My grandma has been making these for years they are lovely. Just been making some and thought I'd search the recipe

  5. It is rather a lovely dessert and I just love the name.

  6. I used to work in a hotel in the Cotswolds and this was one of my favourite recipes. It also works well if you swop the lemons for strawberries and the lemon jelly for strawberry jelly.

    1. Oh a strawberry one sounds delicious - might have to try this in summer.

  7. could this be made with oranges?

    1. Hello. I think maybe you could as it is similar to cheesecake and there are plenty orange cheesecakes out there. However, lemons brings a tartness to contrast with the rich base.