In the USA, there is a restaurant chain called the Cheesecake Factory , which I have mentioned previously, there they have a multitude of flavours and styles. Me, I am not normally a baker, but on high days and holidays I do occasionally splurge.
One of my standards was always a very basic cheesecake, but this weekend I upgraded it to a more visually exciting cheesecake, although in reality it was simplicity itself.
To make my cheesecake you will need a 23 cm ( about 91/2″) Spring form pan ( one which releases the bottom when unclipped) preferably a non stick one, so much easier to clean and to release the cake.
The cake is surrounded by a rich pastry crust, which is made by tipping all of the ingredients into a food processor.
Heat the oven to 180 C place the rack in the middle of the oven.
For the pastry you will need
- 260 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 140grams cold unsalted butter
- 6 (1/2cup) cream beaten together with an egg yolk.
- Put all of the dry ingredients into a food processor
- Cut the butter into chunks,add to the food processor and wizz of a few seconds until it stops clonking.
- With the machine running pour in the egg/cream mixture, the mixture should form a damp ball very quickly. If it is not forming a ball add a few more drops of cream.
- Remove the dough from the machine and knead it lightly together.
- Grease lightly the springform tin
- Divide the pastry into three and rollout one third into a rough round about the size of the tin. Place in the bottom of the pan and using your knuckles press it to fill the pan up to the edges.
- Roll one third out into an oblong about the size of half the diameter of the tin, place it on the sides of the tin and repeat with the rest of the pastry. Again using fingers and knuckles press the pastry bottom and sides together to make a smooth lining to the pan.
- Put in the refrigerator until ready to use
For the Filling
- 650-700 grms scream cheese (Philadelphia type, but do not use the light variety )
- 1 1/2 cups (375 MLS) single cream or sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2tsp lemon zest
- 3 large eggs ( separated)
- 1/3 Cup caster sugar + 2/3 Cup ( 75 grms and 150 grms)
- Some whipping cream and raspberries , smooth apricot jam all for decoration.
To make the filling.
- Put the cream cheese which has to be at room temperature, into the food processor, and wizz for a few minutes until smooth.
- Add the cream, lemon zest, vanilla essence, sugar (150 grms) and egg yolks.
- Beat until mixed making sure to scrape the sides down so that everything is incorporated.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff and then add the rest of the sugar, beat until stiff again but smooth and not dry.
- Fold the whites into the cream cheese mixture gently until fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the chilled pastry case and place in the middle of the oven and bake at 180 C until the the top is puffy and the sides golden. The top will be a little soft. Remove from oven and place away from draughts as they will cause the cake to sink.Some sinkage will occur.
Leave to cool and then carefully remove the springform sides.
When totally cool, refrigerate for several hours.
In a pan or microwave proof container put the contents of about 1/2 a jar of smooth apricot jam, add a teaspoon of brandy or whiskey and heat gently until very liquid.
If the top of the cake has sunken a little or if the edges of the pastry ar uneven, then carefully slice off the top. Brush away any crumbs that remain., pour over the melted apricot jam but only onto the cheese part. Beat the additional cream until stiff and “Pipe” around the edges and decorates with raspberries.
It is very easy and fairly large will serve at least 12. Keep refrigerated .