אנונימי Friday 22.5.15 No comments 2367 views

The Purist’s Cheesecake

“A  cheesecake can be over dressed but never over elegant.” (Coco Chanel )

well.. actually Coco was saying this about women but this saying is very true about cheesecakes too :)

When it comes to cooking, I sometimes like to play around, try new things, add an unfamiliar spice and combine different recipes to try to concoct something new. For me, the kitchen is my playground. The holiday of Shavuot is just around the corner and the internet is bursting with recipes for special, original cheesecakes – cookie dough, combined with chocolate, brownies, different types of creams. I even saw one recipe that had mint in the cheese! Yes…mint! (Just the thought of it gives me the chills…) But for some reason, I have a hard time joining in on the fun.

I’m sorry, but when it comes to cheesecake, I’m conventional. I want my cheesecake classic – delicate, not too sweet, creamy and a bit lemony. Simple and elegant like cheesecake was meant to be. This cake is exactly one of those.

I found the recipe on Maya’s blog ‘Bazek Alim’ and I adopted it. The best part about it is that in terms of effort versus results, the result looks like it took much more effort than it really did. The cheesecake is very easy to prepare, can all be made in one food processor without washing it in between stages (!), and in contrast with other recipes, there’s no need to separate eggs. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week and if you really insist on getting creative, there are tips to embellish it at the end of the recipe, plus a recipe for an easy, decadent toffee sauce which will make the cheesecake look like it came from a gourmet bakery.

·         For the crust:

·         100 grams butter or margarine

·         ½ cup sugar

·         1 ½ cups self-rising flour (or regular flour + 1.5 tsp baking powder)

·         1 egg

·         For the cheese filling:

·         750 grams 5% soft white cheese or 500 grams soft white cheese and 250 grams cream cheese

·         ½ cup sugar

·         2 eggs

·         2 Tbsp flour + 1 Tbsp corn starch

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         Optional: 2-3 Tbsp heavy cream and the zest of one lemon

Preparation:

Crust:

Preheat the oven to 180C (no need for turbo). The cake needs high heat when it is placed in the oven. Add all of the ingredients to the food processor (this can also be prepared by hand, in a bowl, or in a mixer with a hook attachment), and mix until the mixture is crumbly. If you cut the margarine or butter into cubes, it will mix better. Check that nothing is left on the sides of the mixer, and scrape the sides with a spoon or spatula occasionally. If you are using a bowl, simply mix the dough until it becomes crumbly.

Transfer the crumbs to a pan and press them with your hands, first to the side of the pan until it reaches a height of 3-4 cm, and then flatten onto the bottom of the pan.

 

Place inside the oven for only about 10 minutes to partially bake – until the crust is just golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the crust is cooling, make the filling.

Filling –

In the same mixer (no need to clean in between! Yes!), add the ingredients for the cheese filling and mix until you have a smooth, relatively liquid mixture (more liquid than yogurt but less than milk). Occasionally, scrape the sides of the mixer with a spoon or spatula so that all of the ingredients are evenly mixed.

The cheese filling can also be made without a food processor: simply mix all of the ingredients together until the mixture is uniform. Pour over the crust and place inside the hot oven for half an hour. After half an hour, small bubbles should appear on the cheesecake. Lower the temperature to 150 and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool with the oven door open. At first, the cheesecake is a bit shaky, but after it cools, it becomes firm.

Embellishments:

-You can mix a cup of sour cream with 2 Tbsp of sugar and spread on the cheesecake during the last 10 minutes that the cheesecake is baking.

-You can whip a carton of heavy cream with 3 Tbsp of sugar and spread over the cheesecake.

-You can make a to-die-for toffee sauce with just 3 minutes of work:

Heat half a cup of sugar in a pan with three Tbsp of tap water. After pouring everything in, don’t touch it. Don’t mix or shake the pan. Leave the pan as is until the sugar is entirely melted. When the sugar starts to become golden, count five second and then begin to mix. Don’t do anything else while you are making the sauce. Give it the attention it deserves – one extra second and the sugar might burn. Add heavy cream (at least 32% fat). At first, pour in just half of the carton and mix. Some of the sugar will lump, and that is okay. Continue to mix on high heat and the lumps are supposed to melt (you can reduce the number of lumps by taking the cream out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you use it, or heating it up carefully in the microwave for short intervals of 10 seconds each). When the sauce is completely smooth and reaches the boiling point, it is ready. If the sauce is too dark and thick for your taste, add more cream, and cook more until it reaches the boiling point (do not boil, or else it will become solid). The sauce remains liquid when it cools as well, and can be saved in the refrigerator until served. Also excellent with ice cream and fruit. 

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