As a child, cheesecake was not on the top of my list of yummy desserts. First of all, it was cheese! Who eats cheese in a dessert? And where was the sugar? (I had the same problem with cannolis, but that’s a whole other post!) Cheesecake, you have to admit, is not very sweet. But alas, over the years I did develop a liking for it. (cannolis too!)
For you cheesecake connoisseurs out there, you have to admit that the best cheesecake is New York cheesecake and have to agree, as I am originally from New York, and well…what more can I say?
It had been a long time since I’ve eaten cheesecake…PROPER cheesecake. My mum-in-law’s cleaning lady made her a small cheesecake which I tasted. I’m sorry to say, I did not like it. It wasn’t very creamy and had a rather grainy texture to it and she also had sprinkled cinnamon on top. Mind you, I have nothing against cinnamon. I use it often but I’m not crazy about it on things like cheesecake or rice pudding, which is another thing that I’m not too keen on.
Last year Chef P said he wanted to make some cheesecake but we
didn’t have can’t get any graham crackers here. Since my sis-in-law asked if there was anything they could bring us when they met us in London last year, one of the items I asked for was a box of graham crackers.
The box had been sitting in the cupboard all this time…until this past Monday.
Since I got my electric mixer last month, we’ve both been wanting to make things using it. (so far, I’ve gotten the better deal on that!) Chef P mentioned the ‘cheesecake’ again. We were going to make it last Sunday, but never got around to doing it (read: I didn’t realize the cream cheese had to be at room temp and I hadn’t taken it out of the fridge) so I got to make it all by myself on Monday…but couldn’t have any until Tuesday due to its chilling time to firm up.
(Now I know that cheesecake is not part of the South Beach Diet, but to be honest, I have really fallen off the wagon and my cravings for sweet has gone completely out of control. I should say that I haven’t been completely bad; I’m trying to eat proper meals but it’s the in-between stuff that I shouldn’t be having…like the cheesecake. I haven’t been totally off my rocker about it, I’ve had just one piece a day. I gave a quarter of it to my neighbors across the way and Chef P has been taking a piece each day to work. There’s still slightly less than a quarter of it left so the pieces haven’t been huge.)
I have to admit, for my first ever attempt at making cheesecake, it came out pretty damn good! The other thing I was rather pleased about was that it didn’t crack on the top. Woo hoo! This doesn’t appear to be a traditional NY cheesecake recipe, but it was quick and easy and doesn’t use as many eggs as some recipes I’ve seen. So for those of you not worrying about what you eat, I’m sharing the recipe here. Remember, this is NOT SBD FRIENDLY!
◊ Use FULL FAT on cheeses and condensed milk ◊
◊ Equip: 9″ / 23cm spring form pan, well greased with butter ◊
◊ Preheat oven to 150°C / 300°F ◊
1/3 C butter, melted
1½ C graham cracker crumbs (UK – use digestives)
21oz/600g cream cheese, room temp (UK – use Philadelphia)
5oz/140g marscapone cheese
14fl oz/400g condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Make the cracker crumbs by placing them into a food processor and processing until fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until mixed thoroughly. You’ll know you have a perfect mix when you can pick up some with your hands, squeeze it and it stays together. If you don’t have a food processor, put them into a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until crumbly then stir in melted butter.
Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly into the pan, coming up the sides about a half inch/1cm and set aside.
Beat the cream cheese and marscapone until fluffy, using an electric mixer. Add condensed milk, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well, but DO NOT OVERBEAT.
Pour into pan. Place in preheated oven and bake 1 hour then turn off oven and leave cake in oven for 1 hour with door ajar. Your cake should be golden brown on top (unlike mine which came out a bit dark, but that’s because I had to use the regular oven as my fan oven is broken at the moment).
Place in fridge and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight until firm.