Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Smoked Fish Cheesecakes

Aoife, Cambridge

I was inspired to make these cheesecakes by a smoked mackerel starter I had at The Radcliffe Arms in Hitchin (a very nice place to eat if you are in the area). But I was greedy, I wanted to try out the idea with all my favourite smoked fish. I also wanted to try all the things I know go so well with smoked fish: goat's cheese, ricotta, crème fraiche, lemon, horseradish, dill. It was obvious there was going to have to be more than one type of cheesecake. While I was in The Farmers Market Shop on Lensfield Road getting my fish (gorgeous stuff Cley Smokehouse) I picked up some delicious Wobbly Bottom Farm goat's cheese. I was lucky to find some fresh horseradish in Cambridge market and I made some homemade ricotta using the recipe in Niamh Shield’s wonderful book Comfort and Spice. Once I had all my ingredients assembled I was ready to start experimenting.

I was preparing a dinner for my recently married brother-in-law and his lovely wife and I was planning to serve three cheesecakes each as a starter (a retro trio of cheesecakes) but it looked way too much with four other courses to go. So I cut it back to two and everyone got to choose which two they would like. Even my brother-in-law, the pickiest eater I have ever had to dinner, enjoyed them. Three cheesecakes was perfect for a rather greedy lunch the next day.

smoked fish cheesecakes (enough for 4 of each type)

It’s difficult to give exact recipes for these, each batch of smoked fish is going to be a little bit different and need differing amounts of lemon, salt etc. It’s definitely a case of taste as you go.

smoked salmon and goat's cheesecake
5 cream crackers
25g melted butter
approx 200g smoked salmon cut into small pieces
120g goat's cheese
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
½ teaspoon of capers chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste

hot smoked salmon and ricotta cheesecake
5 poppy seed crackers
25g melted butter
1 hot smoked salmon fillet, (skin removed and flaked)
3 tablespoons of home made ricotta
1 tablespoon of finely chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste

smoked mackerel cheesecake
5 digestive biscuits
25g melted butter
2 filets of smoked mackerel (skin removed and flaked)
2-3 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 heaped teaspoon of grated fresh horseradish
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

The same method is used for all the cheesecakes. Break up the biscuits or crackers by placing inside a sandwich bag and bashing with a rolling pin. Mix together the biscuit crumbs and the melted butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine all the other ingredients, tasting carefully to make sure you get the right balance of flavours.

I assembled my cheesecakes by placing a small pastry cutter on a square of greaseproof paper, I added enough biscuit butter mixture to form a bottom layer and pressed it down with a teaspoon. I then added the fish mixture, smoothed the top and slowly removed the cutter. For the stickier mixtures I washed the cutter between each cheesecake and brushed it with olive oil. The oil made it a lot easier to remove without the fish exploding everywhere. I garnished with artistically placed peashoots and red watercress as well as extra dill and lemon. Picked cucumber was a particularly good accompaniment, this is an easy recipe. 


  1. Looks delicious. Hope you don't mind but I'd like to put the recipe in our shop - we sell award winning smoked fish and meats. Take a look at

    1. Thanks! I don't mind at all as long as you credit the blog - your smoked fish and meat looks lovely - I must pop in if I am down that way again.