A week or so before her birthday, my wife started hankering for a baked cheesecake. Not just a cheesecake, had to be a baked one. So I started thinking… Who knows about cheesecake? And pudding in general…
And there it is. Page 44. The New York Cheesecake. Roughly speaking, it goes something like this…
- 175g digestive biscuits, crushed
- 75g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tin
- 1kg full-fat soft cheese
- 275g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 40g plain flour, sifted
- 300ml sour cream
- finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- Grease a 23cm loose-bottomed/spring-form cake tin, blitz the biscuits in a food processor (or whack with a rolling pin, your call). Melt the butter, add the crumbs and mix well. Press the mix evenly over the base of the tin.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (180°C for conventional, 160°C for fan) for 10 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking sheet, keeping the oven on.
- To make the filling, beat the soft cheese and sugar together in a bowl, mix in the eggs. In a separate bowl, beat the flour into the sour cream and the lemon rind, then fold this mixture into the cheese/eggs using a large metal spoon. Pour over the biscuit base in the tin. Bake for 45 minutes. Leave for 3-4 hours until completely cool
- Run a knife around the edge to separate cake from tin, transfer to serving plate. Devour.
The picture at the top of the page is the Mark I. Followed the recipe to a T, even giving it another few minutes when it didn’t look completely set. It was, well, alright. Pretty good for a first stab but not great. Slightly grainy, not a lot, but definitely a tad overdone. But it set the benchmark.
Not deterred, for the Mark I was delicious, I tried the recipe over the page – Cinnamon cheesecake, also baked. Again, good, but not great. A solid 6/10, must do better. So my wife and I hit the internet and did some research. What’s the tips? What’s the tricks… This is what we found…
- Don’t over-beat things. I’d used the electric hand-blender for any mixing steps so I’d beaten in far, far too much air.
- Especially don’t over-beat the eggs.
- Ingredients should be at room temperature – eggs, cheese, sour cream, the lot. Otherwise the cold forms lumps.
- The cheesecake should wobble at the end of cooking – don’t bake until it’s completely set! (another Mark I mistake)
- First hour’s cooling – switch off the oven and leave the door open. Slow cooling is better and reduces (but can’t always eliminate) cracks.
- Run the blade around the edge when it comes out of the oven, not at the end of cooling
Followed these tips and along came the Mark III… 9/10… Maybe 9.5/10. Even better the next day after it had chilled in the fridge overnight.
The Mark IV is cooling now…