Saturday, 18 June 2011

The London Cheesecake...and not a piece of cheese in sight!

So this week was my sister Mara's birthday and I baked her up an old family favourite.  In our family there were always known as Cheese Straws...upon further research via google I have discovered their official name is 'London Cheesecake'.

They don't contain any cheese at all, rather confusingly, but I'm guessing the shredded coconut on top looks like strands of cheese and that's where the name came from.

From what I can tell they were a big thing back in the day in London.  There's an 'underground following' for them springing up on the internet, and they even have their own facebook page with lots of Londoners who have moved away from London questioning where they can now get their fix! Apparently Greggs sell them, but you won't find them in every Greggs store, although I have it on good authority there is always a steady supply in the Portobello Road store.

Growing up we had a favourite aunt and uncle, Auntie Sheila and Uncle Brian.  They were true 'East-Enders' and we used to love their visits! Uncle Brian was a joker and would always have us laughing hysterically and we used to love going to our local park where he would always climb the tallest trees with us, despite his age! He would give Auntie Sheila a heart attack when she would see him poking his head out from somewhere up high! but of course no visit was complete without auntie Sheila's famous home-made cheese straws. 

I'm sure that hers were 10 times better than mine, but I decided to have a go at them and see what I could come up with.  I had to cut a few corners because I had sent Mara out to the gym so she wouldn't see what I was baking so I only had about an hour to whip them up! but if you've never heard of them before they're definitely worth trying - especially if you're coconut lovers like me!

London Cheesecakes
(Makes 6)

1 pack of ready to roll puff pastry
120g Raspberry jam (try and make it the best quality you can)
Fondant Icing (Icing sugar+water)
Shredded Coconut (desiccated will not do!)

1. Roll out your pastry and mark out 12 squares with a knife.  On my sheet of pastry I marked out 4 along the width and 3 deep.
2. Put a spoonful of raspberry jam in the middle of a pastry square.  I put a rather large tablespoon full when I was making mine but I think I got carried away and in hindsight it could have been less! I'd say about 15g would be a good amount but just eyeball it and see what you think.
3. Cover with a piece of pastry and seal around the edges using your finger to press the two pieces of pastry together.
4.  Bake your 6 jam filled puff pastry squares for approx. 20 minutes at 200°C.
5.  Allow them to cool, and whilst doing this whip up your fondant icing.  I can't tell you amounts...I made these in a hurry but you want it to be quite thick (so it doesn't run) so only add a few drops of water at a time.
6. Finish with a more than generous sprinkling of shredded coconut - in my opinion this makes the whole treat!

I have been out cupcaking it up in London today with my family as part of my 'pre-birthday' celebrations, check back in a few days for the photos and for a VERY exciting birthday giveaway on my blog!


  1. Hello cheese straws! I missed out big time! :(
    Hope you all had an awesome time, I wish we could have joined you all. Did dad show his old, wrinkly face in trendy London?? xx

  2. YUM! This looks great! I found your blog while blog hopping and you have some great recipes on here! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!

  3. Mmm, these look so good! Almost like a danish - my fav! In North America Cheese Straws actually do contain cheese. They're basically like a twisted piece of puff pastry that's baked with different types of cheese melted on top. They're also called Cheese Twists, but I think I might prefer your version a bit better!

  4. i was very confused when i first started reading the post lol but they actually sound really nice :D

  5. I love these cheesecakes where do you buy the shedded coconut I can't find it anywhere!

    1. Apparently the coconut strands are only sold commercially and not sold in shops,ive tried all over to get it but the only thing you can get is shredded coconut which is not the same. However I am going to try Costco.Good luck with your search.

  6. Thanks for the info. I remember these from when I was a kids in the 60s in East Ham. I mentioned them on another forum and wondered if I remembered the name wrongly. I'm glad to know that they really did/do exist :)

    (I always preferred a Belgian bun though!)

  7. Thanks for your blog visit, it's so great to get contact from someone who knows them! They are pretty tasty, and your recipe looks great!



Related Posts with Thumbnails