Dessert: Cheesecake

I love, love, love cheesecakes but they must be baked and they must be unadulterated i.e. not containing any other flavours than cream cheese and perhaps a bit of lemon or vanilla. None of this caramel butterscotch, or chocolate, or tia maria crap. Plain, baked cheescake with a dense, rich, New York-style consistency is the only thing that is qualified to be called ‘cheescake’ in my books. I’ve made quite a few from different recipes over the years, but the perfect cheesecake still alludes me. If anyone has the perfect recipe, please put me out of my misery and send it to me!!! Please!!!

I tried my hand at some individual cheesecakes using an interesting Japanese recipe that resembles making a custard. I wanted something that wouldn’t be too sweet or heavy as I was intending to give them to my boss & his wife for their birthday, so while it’s not exactly a cheesecake I would choose to make for myself, it was still fun to try something different.

You start off making a base from 24 Marie biscuits (or other sweet biscuits), 40g of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of milk.

marie biscuits

Grind the biscuits up in a food processor:

smooshed biscuits

Add the melted butter and enough milk so that it will combine enough to push into a 18cm lined spring form pan…

adding butter

Or make 6 individual cakes in a muffin tin by lining them with baking paper:

bases ready to go

You’ll notice we don’t pre-bake the bases with this recipe.

Next, comes the good stuff – cream cheese and cream. Mmm…I left my cheese out to soften, but if you forget, just throw it in the microwave for 20 seconds (after taking it out of the foil, of course!)

the good stuff

Beat 200g softened cream cheese until it is smooth. Then add 70g of castor sugar, 50g of sifted plain (all-purpose) flour, 2 eggs and an egg yolk together.

cheese mix

Once it is combined, add 240ml of warmed milk (just put it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so) and 120ml of cream and mix until smooth (using a whisk for this is best).

adding cream

Adding some lemon juice and finely grated rind at this point would add a nice little kick to the mix if you are that way inclined, but I kept mine pure and simple.

Now the interesting part, set up a double-boiler on your stove i.e. a pan of simmering water that your mixing bowl will fit in comfortably, without the bottom of the bowl directly touching the water.

double boiler

Now stir while heating the mix like you’re making custard. The mix will start getting thicker and once it does, take it off the heat. Don’t be tempted to leave it there until it starts to cook, as the eggs will form lumps. Just heat it until you notice it’s a bit thicker than when you started. I probably thickened mine a bit too much, so just keep that in mind.

consistency of mix

Then pour the mix gently onto the base and pop it into a 150c pre-heated oven for 30mins or so. They won’t brown, but you know they’re ready when you shake them and there is no jiggle.

ready for the oven

I topped mine with some cream whipped with a little icing (confectioner’s) sugar and vanilla essence.

all dressed up and to my boss' tummy they go

A sour cream frosting would also be lovely on these suckers – google a recipe, I know you want to!

Even though they’re not strictly my type of cheesecake, I was sad that I hadn’t made an extra one to try. I did lick the spoon and the bowl afterwards though and I have to report they were scrummy in a Japanese cheesecake way i.e. not sweet, very light, very edible.

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