Cheesecake

Recipe: Crème de Cheesecake (Cheesecake)
Level: Intermediate
Techniques: Crumble, Fruit Puree, Cheesecake

Ah cheesecake! Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Whether it’s the classic New York style baked version. Or a no-cook, set in the fridge, topped off with fruit sauce affair. What’s not to like!

I’ve made plenty of cheesecakes in my time. Nothing quite like this French version though. As you can see from the photo, the biscuit/shortbread crumble is baked separately to the cheesecake and then sprinkled on top. A twist which in my opinion works quite nicely.

This is a baked cheesecake, which is actually my favourite. The French have been making this style of cheesecake for quite sometime, and it would seem that they were the inspiration for the NY cheesecake.

In France either fromage blanc or Neufchâtel cheese is used. According to the Wikipedia entry, Neufchâtel has an aroma and taste similar to mushrooms. So I’m not too upset that I didn’t bother to source this cheese and used Philadelphia instead. Personally, I’ve never thought “Hmm, you know what this cheesecake is missing? Mushroom undertones.”

Back in the 1800s, an American farmer was trying to create his own Neufchâtel but added too much cream or something and ended up with cream cheese. This went on to become the first ever mass-produced cream cheese. We now know as Philadelphia.

So unbeknown to me, when I purchased my Philadelphia (it was on a pretty impressive special offer, I normally purchase own-brand. No shame here!) it seems to be a distant relative of mushroom cheese!

Enough of the coincidences. Back to the recipe. First job, make the crumble.

Crumble Ingredients
Crumble Ingredients

This was a typical mix of equal quantities of butter and sugar mixed to one and half times the amount of flour, quite similar to shortbread. All the ingredients were squished together until they almost made a dough. Felder recommends mixing this on the worktop, but I can be a bit messy, so I opted for a bowl.

Then the dough was crumbled onto a baking sheet and baked in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden.

Crumble topping before and after baking.
Crumble topping before and after baking.

Next I had to make the cheesecake filling.

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Cheesecake Ingredients

With my butter softened (not melted) in a saucepan over a gentle heat, I removed the pan from the heat and whisked in the sugar and eggs. Then I added the cream cheese and whisked the mixture until it was completely smooth.

I poured nearly all of the cheesecake filling into 4 bowls, reserving 100g of the mixture. This was done so that part-way through the cooking time you can add the remaining liquid to the centre of the cheesecakes where they have dipped in the middle.

After 20mins remove the cheesecakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely at room temperature before even attempting to decorate them.

I used this time to do the dishes, make a cup of coffee…oh and get on with my strawberry puree 🙂

As I got to this stage of the recipe I really did query the ‘intermediate’ classification of this recipe. I just had to remove the stalks from the strawberries, puree them and strain the puree through a sieve.

cheesecake
Strawberry Puree

I think the meringues of last week were much more technical and they were classed as ‘basic’, but what do I know?

Finally all that remains is to assemble the cheesecakes. Basically sprinkle some of the biscuit topping around the edge and drizzle some puree into the centre of the cheesecake.

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I then put them in the fridge and chilled them overnight.

These tasted great. Light, fluffy, almost cake-like. The strawberry was really sharp, this worked well with the crumble as that was quite sweet. I am tempted to try making this as one large cheesecake. I would still serve the crumble on the top, as it retains its crunch this way. It’s also nice that it isn’t all compacted in one hard lump, like in a regular cheesecake.

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The next section is Les Décorations which means I have to pick a decoration and then a recipe from somewhere else in the book to add the decoration to.

I have decided to make Tartlettes Chocolat-Café topped with Noisettes Caramélisées.

Thanks for looking!

Angela