11 Apr 2009

Favourite Food

The Monthly Challenge topic for April is "Favourite food" and in that vein I thought I'd share with you a recipe for one of my favourite desserts. I found this recipe in a cookbook that was given to me by friend that thought that me being a vegetarian was just plain weird. Now you have to remember that this was about 20 years ago when people did view those of us that didn't want to eat meat as complete freaks. The title of the book is "The Cranks Recipe Book" by David Canter, Kay Canter and Daphne Swann. In the 60's these three people started up a vegetarian restaurant in London by the name of Cranks and over the years they opened more. You can read about the ups and downs of the Cranks restaurant business here. I believe there is only one restaurant left now and that is in Devon in the UK. The recipe book, I think, is still in print and there have been others published by the company since. I still have my, now very tatty and food stained, paperback version that was published in the 1980's.

My all time favourite dessert has to be The Cranks, no bake, lemon cheesecake, although I must confess that I have used the main mix and flavoured it with pineapple just as many times as I made it lemon flavoured.

Lemon Cheesecake

This cheesecake is neither baked nor set with jelling compound. It relies on the weight of the ingredients to hold it's shape, so chill well and handle with care.

For the base

  • Digestive biscuits 100 g (4 oz)
  • Butter or margarine, melted 50 g (2 oz)

For the Filling

  • Lemons 2
  • Raw brown sugar 100 g (4 oz)
  • Cream cheese 350 g (12 oz)
  • Curd cheese 350 g (12 oz)
  • Fresh double cream 142 ml (1/4 pt)

Whipped cream, green grapes, or grated lemon rind to decorate.


Finely crush the biscuits and stir into the melted butter. Press the biscuit mixture into the base of an 20 cm (8") loose bottomed deep cake tin. Chill whilst you move on to make the filling.

Grate the rind from the lemons and squeeze out the juice. Place in a basin with the sugar. Beat well. Slowly beat in the cheeses and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth. Whip the cream until it holds it's shape and fold into the cheese. Spread the cheese mixture over the biscuit base and level the surface. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
Turn the cheesecake out onto a serving plate. Decorate with whipped cream and grapes or lemon rind.

This is a very rich cheesecake, so remember, don't use any electrical whisks or blenders when making this. Do it all by hand. That way you can burn of a lot of calories in the making of it. It will balance out the calorie intake when you eat it hehehe.

The pineapple version I make is the same ingredient except for the lemons. Take fresh or tinned pineapple (if tinned it must be in juice not syrup) and substitute that for the lemons. If you are feeling adventurous you can cut the pineapple into cubes and use them to build a wall around the edge of the tin before you fill it with the cheese mixture. When you turn it out it looks fabulous with the cheese mixture inside a wall of fruit.

There are loads of other really yummy recipes in this book, so if you can find a copy I'd suggest you buy it and get cooking. Don't worry, you don't need to be a vegetarian to enjoy them. They will wow your taste buds whether you love eating meat or not.


  1. Thank you for this recipe. This cheesecake has been a hit for years but I am on holiday in the Lake District and the very well used Cranks book is at home. We are celebrating a 60th birthday party and this is a true crowd pleaser.

  2. Thanks for this. I lost my Cranks book in a move a few years back and I miss this recipe. The best cheesecake I've ever made/eaten.

  3. What can I use for curd cheese please? I'm in UK

  4. I LOVE this particular recipe!! I think I even remember the page number- 156 !😅


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