Serve a classic cheesecake with rhubarb for pure delight

So entranced have I become with the black-capped, crustless Basque cheesecake I had almost forgotten the delights of the classic recipe. The sort you will find from New York to Vienna, with its thick, creamy body the colour of the inside of a ripe vacherin and a texture so thick you can stand your fork up in it. The one that smells of cold milk and vanilla pods and sticks to the roof your mouth. More crucially, I had forgotten that such overwhelming gorgeousness needs a bowl of soured cream or a lightning bolt of zesty fruit.

In summer I would send a slice of the cheesecake to the table with a pale crush of cooked gooseberries or, later, a bowl of loganberries. (Mulberries, rare as hen’s teeth, with their excess of tart, carmine juice, would be heavenly.) At Christmas, slices of blood orange in a pool of pomegranate juice would work, but right now in the depths of winter, rhubarb joyously fills the role. I squirt the seeds and juice of passion fruit at the stalks before I bake them. The seeds, which you can sieve out if you wish, introduce a welcome crunch.

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