Cherry Berry Cheesecake

There has been a serious lack of baked goods in our house for a while now. I just haven’t been in the mood I guess. I thought I should end the drought with a cheesecake that I have been meaning to try. A friend brought a black-forest-inspired cheesecake to a barbecue sometime last year and since then I’ve wanted to make something similar. I don’t have a recipe, but I’ve made enough cheesecakes now that I thought I could just wing it.

The crust is made from finely crushed chocolate biscuits and melted butter. I used a tall glass to press the mixture against the sides and bottom of an 8″ spring-form pan and then baked it for 20 minutes to set. I used cream cheese, mascarpone and sour cream for the filling with sour cherries mixed through. I added a decent amount of kirsch as well to boost the cherry flavour.  The jelly on top is just the liquid from the jar of cherries with some gelatin added.

The combination of chocolate crust and creamy cheesecake studded with whole cherries is a winner. I didn’t measure anything as I was making it but I can probably write a close approximation of the recipe if anyone is interested – just leave a comment if you are. I promise it was easier than it looks.

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Published in: on November 10, 2011 at 10:54 pm  Comments (7)  
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White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake

My friend Natalia recently celebrated her 23rd birthday. For her birthday dinner I planned on making her a cake, and settled on white chocolate and raspberry which is one of her favourite flavour combinations. I chose to make a cheesecake because I figured the flavours would translate well, plus it’s always popular and a nice twist on the typical birthday cake.

I waited until the day of her birthday dinner to make the cake. In hindsight this was a poor choice as I underestimated how long it would take to set. I have used variations of this recipe twice before; both baked and unbaked. It tasted much better unbaked in my opinion but I thought it had a bit too much gelatin in it last time. I detest the typical cafe/restaurant cheesecakes because they are so full of gelatin that the textural quality of the cheesecake is ruined. It’s a fine line. You need the cheesecake to be able to support it’s own weight without collapsing, but you also want it to be as soft and luscious as possible, not rubbery and solid. I think this cheesecake came very close to that mark, but it just didn’t have time to set properly so it sank around the edges. The raspberries may have also prevented the gelatin from setting slightly as some fruits do.

The good news is that it tasted excellent. The flavour of white chocolate and raspberry was obvious. The raspberry jelly on top was smooth and fresh against the creaminess, and the almond biscuit base complemented it all perfectly. I reduced the sugar content slightly because I included white chocolate, but I still found it a bit sweet. I guess a certain level of sweetness has to be expected with white chocolate and raspberry, but I try to aim for as little sugar as is needed in my baking. The recipe has been amended to include the amount of gelatin and sugar that I think would work well.

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Published in: on August 18, 2011 at 9:10 pm  Comments (10)  
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Baked Cheesecake with Passionfruit Syrup and Fruit Salad

Okay I admit it. I am completely addicted to this season of MasterChef Australia. I barely paid attention to the show in the past, but this time around I’ve been well and truly sucked in. It’s a great source of inspiration and I also find myself learning quite a bit.

Recently on the show, Donna Hay showed us how to make a classic baked cheesecake. Now I’ve tried a few different cheesecakes in my time, both baked and unbaked, but this one looked more promising than anything I had made before. I am generally not a fan of Donna Hay’s recipes because I find them to be almost too simple; she is a food stylist afterall, not a chef. But a cheesecake is essentially quite simple, and she demonstrated some good tips on the show which I was eager to try out – plus Muffy demanded cheesecake after catching a glimpse of what was happening on the tv.

The original recipe can be found here. I changed it a little because I didn’t want to use ricotta, but essentially it is the same. I substituted the ricotta for mascarpone which is an Italian style triple-cream cheese. It’s probably not as good for you as ricotta, but then that’s kind of the point. You could also use sour cream or creme fraiche instead, it really doesn’t matter too much with cheesecake.

I served it with a simple fruit salad of pineapple, strawberries and kiwi which did a good job of balancing out the richness of the cake. I also made a quick syrup to pour over using tinned passionfruit pulp and sugar, reduced down a bit in a saucepan.

Unfortunately the cheesecake itself didn’t turn out as good as I was hoping. I know the recipe is not the problem though, because I tasted the uncooked mixture and it was pretty amazing. I have suspected for a while now that my oven runs too hot, and after this cheesecake I am more sure than ever. It rose a lot more than I was expecting (at 150C) and cracked on top towards the end of cooking. Those are the typical signs of an oven being too hot, and baked cheesecake is particularly susceptible to cracking.

I will definitely make this again, but in a cooler oven if I decide to bake it. Or I might just take out the eggs, add some gelatin and turn it into an unbaked cheesecake. The mixture is seriously SO GOOD. You could easily halve the recipe for the filling as it makes a very tall cake, but adjust the cooking time accordingly. I really liked the base of this cheesecake as well. So many recipes call for crushed biscuits but this had a much nicer texture and flavour.

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Published in: on June 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm  Comments (4)  
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