One thing I’d never attempted was to cook a cheesecake…my son (and I) love them so I thought it’s time to put on my baker’s hat again.
Note: I don’t actually have a baker’s hat – I do have a Hard Hat but that just looks silly.
I can cook but I don’t invent many dishes – so what I did was search for an easy recipe to follow – it’s not so much the ingredients I need to know, more so the rough quantities to use.
I mean it’s pretty obvious how to make one just don’t want to end up with something that’s completely out of proportion (however hindsight makes me realise thats why you should always exactly follow the recipe and ensure you have all the ingredients it requires).
As it turned out my ‘New York’ style cheesecake was a little flat in comparison to those I’d bought before, nor indeed as you can now witness did it resemble the picture below of the recipe I (sort of) followed and to cap it all was very, very sweet which is also unusual for New York Cheesecake !
That was what it was supposed to look like… Two questions I have are “Where the hell did the blueberries come from?” and “why did I end up with loads more caramel on top?”
Found out the answer to the second one when I re-read the recipe and found I was supposed to swirl it into the cheese mixture before cooking – oops !
I blame my substitutions for the fact mine is different – possibly the eggs weren’t as large as they should have been (recipe only said three eggs but maybe it meant I should be using ostrich eggs ? – why couldn’t it be specific).
I also had slightly less cream cheese but interestingly enough as much sugar and condensed milk – perhaps they’re the real culprits behind the difference (and of course the sweetness) ?
Nonetheless it was edible even though I’ll probably stick to shop bought ones in the future. That said, my son liked it as did my wife and although a bit sweet even for me I still managed a slice !
If you want to do better than I then here’s the recipe and the ‘proper’ ingredients:
- 200g digestive biscuits, crushed
- 2tbsp drinking chocolate/cocoa powder
- 10g caster sugar (I’d personally avoid this element unless you want to add to the world’s quota of diabetics)
- 55g butter
- 400g cream cheese (or in my case about 250g !)
- 200ml tub half fat crème fraîche (or if you really want furred up arteries try full fat as it’s all I had when I made it – I only had 100g so thought it would balance out)
- 85g caster sugar
- 1tbsp cornflour
- 3 eggs
- 1½tsp vanilla extract (or essence if you don’t have any – which by the way I didn’t have any of either !)
- Tin of condensed milk (or you can simplify and buy a tin of ready made caramel but I couldn’t find any)
- Improvisation of Caramel swirls for a nice decorative topping (I cheated and bought a packet but the adventurous amongst you could try making your own) – the recipe improvisation was obviously the healthier option of Blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, (160°C for fan ovens). Double wrap the outside of the cake tin in cling film. (I didn’t have a small enough cake tin so had to use an aluminium foil tray instead and didn’t use cling film either because it should be waterproof)
- Thoroughly mix the crushed biscuits in a bowl with the drinking chocolate, sugar and butter then lightly press into the base of the tin. Chill for 10 minutes (thats the mixture not you).
- Whisk the cream cheese, crème fraîche, sugar, cornflour, eggs and vanilla (advice…use an electric hand whisk or blender if you have one – I don’t as it’s in the garage somewhere and couldn’t be bothered to call out search and rescue to find it so had to whisk manually – phew !).
- Pierce the tin of condensed milk and heat the tin for an hour (two to be safe) in water until it turns to caramel (or just buy a tin of ready made caramel) make sure this pan doesn’t boil dry as exploding condensed milk will definately make a real mess of your kitchen.
- Swirl the cooled contents into the cheese mixture (this is the bit I missed !)
- Pour the filling over the biscuit base. (You are allowed to lick the bowl out if no-ones watching)
- Sit the cake tin into a roasting tin so it becomes a Bain-Marie (I might not be an expert chef but I can speak un petit pois of French).
- Pour very hot water into the roasting tin to come halfway up the sides of the cake tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, without opening the door, and leave for 1 hour to set. In my case now carefully add the caramel topping (but the clever cooks won’t have to do this step). Cool and then chill your resultant cake for hours (or as long as you can bear the suspense of what it tastes like).
- In my case firstly quickly take pictures for Blog, but you can just remove from the tin and serve.
- Always decide on the recipe you are going to follow before buying the ingredients rather than guess and then find a recipe that’s ‘close enough’
- Apparently the secret to the texture of this cheesecake is in the gentle cooking in a water bath. Cooling the cheesecake slowly in the oven also helps to prevent the top cracking (wouldn’t matter to me too much as mine was covered in caramel).
Hope if you choose to follow the recipe – yours will turn out better than mine.
PS: Even though they’re not in the recipe ingredients ‘Don’t forget the Blueberries !’