Blackberry cheesecake in a glass

BerryCheesecake InGlassTitle



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Cheesecake.  When I was a kid I always thought this term was one of the biggest lies that adults perpetrated on their children.

I don’t see any cheese (I don’t count cream cheese as cheese – it’s a spread!  Cheese is yellow with a red waxy rind!); and if it’s a cake, where are the icing and the crumbs, huh?

And yet, and yet… even as a child, for me there was always something more alluring about cheesecake than almost any other baked goods.  I suspect it was a combination of the lack of sugary sweetness, the creamy texture, and my unnatural love for digestive biscuit (graham cracker) crusts.  And from a young age, I was a total cheesecake snob – anything containing gelatine and set in a fridge rather than an oven simply did not cut the mustard.  I remember going to restaurants, aged about 12, seeing cheesecake on the menu, and asking the waiter haughtily: “Is it baked?  I don’t want to order it if it’s not baked.”

I have to say that I’m still no fan of gelatine fridge tarts, but some days you simply do not have the time to bake a cheesecake and leave it to cool in the oven long enough for it to set (and let me assure you that removing it from the oven warmish and hoping for the best is not the way forward.  I know:  I’ve tried!).  So what do you do on these days when you have a craving for the flavours of cheesecake?

When Mowie and Bruce came over for lunch a few weeks ago, we went blackberry picking.  Well, to be technically correct, Nick and Bruce picked blackberries and Mowie and I stood on the path, safely out of the way of the thorns, taking photos and shouting encouragement  ;-).  We ended up with a haul of rather spectacularly large and fat blackberries, and these were in my fridge, tempting me, when I was trying to decide what to make for a quick dessert when a friend came for dinner on a weeknight.  When I saw this recipe on the BBC Good Food website, I knew I was hooked.  All the flavours of a cheesecake, in pretty individual servings, and no baking:  you had me at hello…

The end result was quite spectacularly good – like a small portion of deconstructed cheesecake, retaining all the tangy flavours and the buttery biscuity base, but with almost no effort at all.  You could just as easily make this with blueberries, strawberries or even mixed berries, and frozen berries would work as well as fresh, making this an all-year treat.






300g punnet blackberries
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 large lemon , finely grated zest and juice
8 gingersnap biscuits , crushed
2 Tbsp butter , melted
4 Tbsp icing sugar
250g tub mascarpone (or ricotta)


Toss the blackberries together with the caster sugar and 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice in a small pan. Heat gently for 3-4 mins or until the berries start to burst. Leave to cool.

In a clean bowl, mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter. Spoon the mixture into 4 glasses of your choice (I went for pretty cut glass whisky tumblers).

Gently fold the rest of the lemon juice, the lemon zest (reserving some for garnish) and caster sugar into the mascarpone. Divide the mascarpone mix between the glasses, then spoon over the blackberries and their syrupy juices. Garnish with curls of lemon zest.


Don’t forget to get your barbecue and braai recipes to me by 23 September for the Braai, the Beloved Country event to celebrate South Africa’s Heritage Day this month!

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  1. says

    Hope you’ve tried cheesecake on your visits to Germany – it only exists in baked form here. It’s one of the country’s culinary triumphs, IMHO.
    As for this, looks wonderfully easy. Lovely.

  2. says

    Mmmm, cheesecake. I agree with you about the baked ones, 100%… but these do look tempting,especially with the blackberries (I’m starting to seriously mourn the end of blackberry season). Ever tried pumpkin cheesecake? Maybe it’s a North American thing, but really really good!

  3. Jessica says

    Delicious! I have almost no time when it comes to making desserts. This would definitely impress my picky family. Thanks!

  4. says

    Oooooh I’m liking this! TheHusband is a cheesecake nut, but I’m not such a huge fan so the effort in baking one from scratch just isn’t going to happen if you know what I mean. But these I’ll gladly whip up!

  5. says

    Mmm tasty, but when does something in a glass start getting called a verrine?
    My dad made me very envious today saying he’d picked enough blackberries and put them in his freezer to make TEN pies. Where is everyone getting their blackberries from? I don’t know any blackberry hedges that I’d want to eat fruit off!

  6. says

    Mmmm – I’ll have to try this when our youngberries are ready. Like the idea of the ginger base. I only ever knew th efridge version of cheesecake when I was growing up, usually with a much too sweet topping. Baked ones were a revelation and yet another thing I’ve still to try my hand at.