- 300g pumpernickel bread (or dark rye bread)
- 80g salted butter, melted
- 6 sprigs of thyme, stalks removed
- 1 x 250g full-fat cream cheese
- 1 x 250g smooth cottage cheese, garlic & herb flavour
- 1 x 250g Crème Fraiche
- 4 large eggs
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 240g beetroot, peeled
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, skin on
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 25g sugar
- 1 4g gelatine leaf
- Beetroot chips, crystallized thyme sprigs, and seed crackers, to decorate
- 175ml full cream milk
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 4 tsp Marmite or Bovril
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 4 medium eggs, beaten
- 250g mature cheddar, grated coarsely
- Black pepper
- Warm the milk in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, butter and 2 teaspoons of Marmite, until the butter has melted. Cool to lukewarm
- Sift the flour and ½ teaspoon salt into a large bowl, stir in the yeast and make a well in the centre
- Pour the beaten eggs and milk mixture into the well and mix quickly to a soft dough
- Knead for 10-15 minutes by hand or 5-7 minutes in a food mixer with a dough hook on a low speed, until elastic. The dough should be very soft and quite sticky
- Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. This should take about 1½ hours
- For a richer flavour and easier to handle dough, allow the dough to rise overnight in the fridge, after an initial 45 minutes of rising time at room temperature
- You’ll need to bring it back to room temperature for at least an hour before proceeding
- Knock the dough back and sprinkle over half of the grated cheddar, season well with black pepper and knead for a minute or so until smooth and the cheese is well dispersed
- Break the dough into 19 equally-sized pieces (about 50g each), pinch the edges of each piece together together and roll to create a smooth ball
- Lightly brush a 25-26cm springform cake tin with a little melted butter and arrange the balls of dough in concentric circles around the tin. If you don’t have a tin of this size, arrange the dough balls in a 26cm circle drawn on baking paper, on a baking tray
- Sprinkle half of the remaining cheese in the crevices between the balls of dough, taking care not to sprinkle any on top, and set aside to prove for 1½-2 hours, until the dough is well-risen and feels soft and pillowy
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6
- Bake the bread for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven
- Mix the remaining Marmite with 2 teaspoons of just-boiled water and brush the mixture over the bread to glaze
- Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the bread is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
- Serve warm to enjoy the melty ooziness of the cheese
It sounds like an odd combination – beetroot and cheesecake – but that’s because you haven’t tasted it yet. It is absolutely exquisite, especially when made in the Makweti kitchen. You can, however, make it at home too. Our distinguished chefs have put together this easy, step-by-step recipe for you to try in your own kitchen.
This recipe serves 8 people generously. It makes a delicious starter served with loads of crackers or a show-stopping end to a meal as a twist on a cheese board!
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees if you’re using a fan-forced oven. Grease and line a 17cm round springform cake tin and tightly wrap the outside in foil.
To make the crust, place the bread, salted butter and thyme leaves in a food processor and process until fine. Press into the lined baking tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely.
Next, prepare the beetroot cheesecake. On a large sheet of foil, place the beetroot, thyme, garlic cloves, olive oil, balsamic, sugar, and seasoning and toss to coat. Wrap the beetroot up and place it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until soft. Open the foil up and roast for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Place the cream cheese, smooth cottage cheese and Creme Fraiche into a food processor then blend until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, blending in between each addition. Blend in the lemon zest and juice. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared cake tin and place it into a roasting tray. Fill the tray with hot water up to 2/3 of the sides of the baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cheesecake wobbles slightly (like set jelly). Turn the oven off, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature in the bain-marie until completely cool. Remove from the bain-marie, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cold.
To make the beetroot jelly; soak the gelatine leaf in cold water then puree the roasted beetroot with the red wine vinegar and sugar until smooth and liquid. Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth or sieve. (If using a sieve, be careful not to get any beetroot bits into the juice, this ensures a clear jelly). Microwave the beetroot juice until hand hot and stir in the gelatin. Allow to cool slightly.
Finally, pour the beetroot jelly over the top of the cheesecake to form a layer. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or preferably overnight).
For best results, remove the cheesecake from the fridge an hour before you want to serve it and serve with special friends!
Makweti Safari Lodge is world-renowned for our haute cuisine. We are a longstanding member of the (by-invitation-only) Chaîne des Rôtisseurs – a hallmark of fine cuisine. The reason behind this is the imagination and ingenuity that comes out of our kitchen.
People like Chef John Makgoba make it possible to “wow” our guests with every lavish meal and each little nibble. We are so grateful to have such skilled culinary artists as part of our family.
Chef John hails from Magoebaskloof, an 80km drive from Makweti. He is one of three siblings, and chose to work in safari lodges as a means to learn more about the hospitality industry. He made the right choice, both for himself and for us, and has had many opportunities to enhance his skillset while being in the presence of such beautiful wildlife and nature.
Chef John is married to his wife, Tshepiso, and together they have three beautiful children: Lesiba, Thoko and Mohlago. Their home is in Polokwane, where John enjoys his leisure time, hanging out with his family and doing research into new meals and recipe books.
Chef John is extremely dedicated to his job, and it shows through his hard work and inspired dishes. His time at Makweti is teaching him new things every day and we are so thrilled to have his positive spirit around us.
There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread. Actually, we lie. Eating freshly baked bread probably tops the smell, but both are heavenly. This home-baked bread is a Makweti favourite, made with a local ingredient that South African kids grow up on: Marmite. Add loads of cheese and you have a recipe for a dreamy snack or the perfect accompaniment for a meal.
Make it at home and let us know what you think of the finished product.