A Whole Lot Of Love
Love Bar Cheesecake
We just love Pret A Manger's Love Bars. These delicious flapjack bars are topped with a rich dark caramel and studded with chopped pistachios and almonds, dark chocolate chips and whole sunflower seeds (the healthy bit!). We just couldn't resist making these fantastic treats into a decadent dessert.
Most traditional cheesecakes start with a biscuit base but, like the inspiration for this recipe, we opted for a rich and chewy flapjack. Although Pret have kindly published their full Love Bar recipe on Facebook, this simple and foolproof version from the River Cottage is our favourite.
Simply warm your butter and sugar together but don't let your demerera melt. Stir in your oats then press down into your cake tin. We left out the coconut as we didn't want to impact on the finished flavour. As the cheesecake cooks for an hour we left the mix uncooked at this stage.
The cheesecake just had to be the baked variety. Not only does it have a beautiful consistency, but the skin it forms acts as a stable base for a topping. Beat full fat cream cheese with sugar and then add your eggs. This recipe from the domestic Goddess herself, Nigella Lawson, is enriched by using egg yolks plus whole eggs. Mix these in and add vanilla and lemon juice, before pouring the whole lot on top of your flapjack mix.
Now it's worth taking the time to wrap your tin as this ensures an even cook and avoids any graininess. Immerse halfway in a bain marie and bake at 160 degrees centigrade (fan) for one hour. Nigella adds a soured cream layer after 50 minutes, but we skipped this part. When lightly golden and still with a wobble, transfer your cheesecake from it's bath and wrapping and leave to cool in its tin. Once cool, remove from your tin and transfer to your serving dish.
Lastly we come to that all important caramel layer. It's worth chopping your nuts before you start as you'll want to top your finished cheesecake before the caramel sets. Start by gently melting your dark brown sugar and double cream in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has fully melted bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add your butter and keep mixing. Don't worry if your butter splits out as you can rescue it. Keep beating off the heat until you have a thick and glossy caramel.
Now it's time to work fast before it sets too much. Pour over the centre of your cheesecake and work towards the edge with a palette knife. You can add more if you need it and smooth out from the centre until you top is covered. Sprinkle over your delicious toppinga and gently press into your caramel.
So there you have it. The Love Bar cheesecake. Inspired by Pret A Manger, baked by The Gents.