Finally! I've baked my first cheesecake! When I was younger, I disliked cheesecake - totally. It was so overwhelming creamy and cheesy and I often wondered, "Why in the world people pay so much money to eat such a small slice of cheese??!! Plus the size of the cake is so SO much smaller than regular layered cakes and tortes. Why??!!"
Up till now, I still have no idea why.
But, I sure have started to like cheesecake, bit by bit. It started a few years back, when I tasted a small slice of my friend's no-bake cheesecake. It has a base of digestive biscuits, with fresh fruits layered on top of the biscuit base and having the cream cheese mixture poured over and then refrigerated. I went for seconds, and then thirds, and then the next, and the next... and then you know the end of the story. Well I didn't immediately fall head and heels in love with cheesecake since that moment, but it did struck me that I didn't know that cheesecake can taste so light.
I'm not sure how a traditional cheesecake should be like. Should it be cheesy, creamy and heavy? With the heavy cheese taste lingering after each mouthful? Or should it be light and delicate, non-overpowering so you can have slice after slice?
I guess it all depends! (: Some like it so rich and heavy but some like it light and delicate, as if you're not eating a cheesecake. As for me, I'm trying to eat more cheesecakes to have a feel of how a true, real cheesecake should be like.
The cheesecake recipe that I've gotten is from Nigella. I have not gotten around making cheesecake until now because firstly, I wasn't a big fan of it last time, and secondly, it looked too tedious to be made. But I was proven wrong by Nigella's recipe. It was easy and it was fun: processing the oreo cookies, mixing in the melted butter, layering it into the tins and ramekins, making the cheesecake batter, pouring it into the tin and then baking it in a water bath.
Well, of course every journey will have its own obstacles and difficulties.
From Nigella's Chocolate Cheesecake recipe, I halved the recipe, and then halved it again, splitting the batter into two, using one half as the batter for London Cheesecake and the other half as Chocolate Cheesecake (by simply just mixing dark chocolate in). From here, I yield one 4-inch and 2-inch London Cheesecakes and two 2-inch Chocolate Cheesecakes. I baked the London Cheesecake in a small 4-inch tin with a loose base and a small ramekin. The chocolate ones were baked in two small ramekins. I lined the bottom of the ramekins with parchement paper to ease the removal of the cheesecakes. Even though I've wrapped like, 3 layers of aluminum foil over the loose-base tin, it didn't stop the water from going in. I was afraid to use the clingfilm as instructed by Nigella, for fear that the clingfilm will melt and stick to the tin during baking. x: In the end, the base was pretty soggy, but it didn't stop it from tasting good. d=
I've always loved Nigella's recipes, as they are easy to follow and most of the time - fool-proofed. I like both of the ending cheesecakes. Both are so smooth and not too cheesy, which is just what I like. I prefered the original one because the chocolate overpowered the original taste of the cheese. Plus, the pure vanilla extract that I used smells so damn good in the London Cheesecake. The extract's expensive, but it's really worth it, so used a really good quality vanilla! But but but! Both cheesecakes are still tasty nonetheless (x
I'll just be posting the original recipes and then state some adaptations/changes that one can make (= Hope you will enjoy making these cheesecakes as much as I do!
Do you like the creamy, original, London Cheesecake?
adapted from Nigella's London Cheesecake recipe
600 g Philadelphia cream cheese
150 g caster sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks**
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice***
145 ml sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
*or use oreo cookies, without the cream!
**I halved the recipe, using only 3 eggs in total
***desperate without lemon, I used lime
Using a food processor, process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again (if you do not have a food processor like me, just place the biscuits in a ziploc bag and then bash away~ with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl before mixing in the butter with a fork). Line the bottom of a 20-cm Spring-form tin, pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set while you prepare the cream cheese batter.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Beat the cream cheese gently until smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks and then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on.
Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting dish. This will protect the cheesecake from water as it is cooked in its water bath.
Pour the cream cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don't overfill as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will sit on the surface and not sink in.
To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the Spring-form, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it's cooled down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmould and decorate with sliced strawberries and whole blueberries. To serve, plunge a knife in hot water first, dry it completely before slicing into goodness.
Or do you prefer the luscious Chocolate Cheesecake?
60 g butter
1 tablespoon cocoa
175 g dark chocolate, chopped**
500 g Philadelphia cream cheese
150 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon Bird's custard powder***
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
150 ml sour cream
½ teaspoon cocoa, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
**I used a chocolate with 75.5% cocoa
**I substituted it with 1 tablespoon of cornflour, and add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
I can almost hear them whispering to me... "Eat me!" They are just begging to be eaten! (;