Broad bean, spring onion and lemon cheesecake

For this recipe we use fresh beans; you can use frozen but, in the summer, the fresh variety are so easy to get hold of that it’s nice to make use of them. For a variation, try substituting the broad beans with peas and some chopped mint leaves. This dish can be varied many times with a bit of imagination: try making individual versions if you have the moulds, they look delightful as a starter with a mixed leaf salad. They will take a shorter time to bake, so keep an eye on them.

For the base
75g plain flour
25g toasted porridge oats (see here)
50g unsalted butter, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the filling
250g broad beans, shelled weight
(about 750g with the pods)
8 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
a little sunflower oil
2 eggs
325g cream cheese
2 tbsp whipping cream
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
large punnet of pea shoots, or watercress if you cannot find pea shoots
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3.
Rub together the flour, oats and butter until the mixture resembles crumbs, or just pulse-blend in a food processor. Season with the salt and pepper.
Line a 20cm springform tin with greaseproof paper and press the oat mixture into the base, making sure that there are no gaps. This will save any custard escaping later. Line with another sheet of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or raw rice. Blind-bake for 12 minutes, until slightly golden. Set aside.
Set a large pan of water to boil with 1 tsp of salt. Have a bowl of cold water ready. When the water boils, add the beans, cook for 2 minutes, then, using a slotted spoon, remove and add to the cold water to stop the cooking. When they are cooled, we peel them … this is a bit fiddly and time-consuming, so you will be OK to use them as they are if you like, unless you have some spare time. Drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan 120°C/gas mark 1.
Fry the spring onions in a little oil until just soft.
Beat the eggs and mix in the cream cheese, cream and lemon zest. Now carefully fold in the broad beans and spring onions and season well. Spread evenly over the base and bake for 30–40 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool a little so it is easier to cut, or cool completely and serve cold.
To serve, carefully release from the tin, slice and serve with a mound of pea shoots. This works well with a tomato and mint salad on the side.