I nominated myself to supply dessert for our family Mother’s Day celebration, and after I’d got over the original panic (I had this experience once where I made mudcake, which ended in me sobbing over uncooked brown sludge) I decided to make a cheesecake. Because I never had, and one must always take risks in life.
I used a recipe from Taste but adapted it to my own conditions and what I had available. Mainly, I chose this recipe because it had been reviewed 74 times. I read through each and every of the 74 comments and took most of what they had to say on board! My modifications are included within the recipe below.
As it happens, I was curious to know why it was a New York Cheesecake, and turned to one of my favourite cookery blogs to read all about it: Smitten Kitchen. Deb is a New Yorker and this is her recipe for New York Cheesecake where she discusses what makes New York Cheesecakes different. What I deduced from that post was the following: they are taller, require more cream cheese, have a hint of lemon and Americans top them with pie filling.
In the absence of pie filling, but in the presence of a special on frozen raspberries at Woolworths, I elected to serve mine with berries both within and without!
Note to people attempting this at home – if you have a stand mixer like a Kenwood or Kitchenaid etc, I think this recipe would be a lot easier. My electric hand beaters (crappy homemaker brand) slowed RIGHT down when trying to beat the cream cheese and got all hot under my hand. I was worried about them melting down! Next time I make this cake, I’m doing it at Mum’s in the Kenwood!
Berry Cheesecake – adapted from a recipe on Taste.com.au, serves at least 8 greedy people and possibly more like 12 normal people.
- 1.5 packets of gingernut biscuits (about 400g)
- 125g melted butter
- 750g cream cheese at room temp (that’s three packets. I used two normal and one ‘light’ Philadelphia blocks)
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp grated lemon rind
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 4 eggs
- 300 ml sour cream (one carton)
- packet of frozen raspberries (about 200g)
Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin (it has to be springform so you can unclip it later and not destroy the cheesecake crust!)
Crush the biscuits, either aggressively with a rolling pin in a plastic bag or using an executioner like a food processor to do it for you. Combine with the melted butter. Transfer to the tin and use your fingers to press it evenly all around the base and sides of the tin. Put it in the fridge to chill.
Meanwhile, use an electric beater (or a stand mixer, see my comment above) to beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind together. Don’t use a wooden spoon or you’ll be there till next Tuesday. Stop when it’s just combined, it’s apparently very bad to overbeat cheesecakes and leads to cracking later on. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Stop beating, and stir in the sour cream and berries with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the base (put the pan on a baking tray, to protect from spillage and also to help transfer to the oven) and transport the whole thing to the oven. Put a roasting pan filled with water in the oven as well, apparently this helps to stop cracking and saves you setting up a water bath.
Bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the middle is just set. Mine was still a bit wobbly when I turned the oven off, I think it was a little bit underbaked but still delicious. Leave in the oven with the door slightly ajar for at least two hours, or overnight – then put in the fridge to chill for at least four more hours. I took the cheesecake out of the oven after a couple of hours and put in the fridge, where it firmed up nicely overnight.
I served the berry cheesecake with cream – it didn’t need it – and raspberry sauce made from mixing another frozen packet of raspberries with some icing sugar and cooking it up on the stove till it went mushy, then putting it through a sieve (if you had a blender/food processor, I’d suggest just whizzing it up in that instead). It actually turned out to be a ridiculously easy cake that was also highly, highly delicious. Family verdict? “That can be a repeat.”