Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Cheesecake

So, after the 2008 Cheesecake Bake-Off (in which I did not win any awards), I rashly proclaimed I'd never make a cheesecake again--until next year, at least, I said. Well, for two reasons it has become apparent that I need to make the cheesecake ONE MORE TIME. First, I have exactly 200 grams of digestive biscuits in my house, and none of the members of our household is in need of a digestive aid, so far as I know. Second, I want people to taste my cake in an environment that is more suited to its subtlety--the Bake-Off was a little manic. So, I'm going to make the Christmas Cheesecake for Christmas dinner.

I did steal this recipe off the internet, but I had to do so much calculating and experimenting to get the measurements right, that I'm putting it up here as my own. It was from an Australian magazine, and they measure things by weight, not cups or tablespoons; and not just weight, but METRIC weight. Translations were necessary; charts were consulted; substitutions were made. So, if you want a very fine, creamy, custardy cheesecake, do this:

• 200 grams Digestive Biscuits (this is actually pretty OK to measure by grams because if you’re buying a package of digestive biscuits, they’re probably imported from Europe or Asia and sold in packages of 200 or 400 grams anyway)
• ½ C Unsalted Butter, melted
Layer one:
• 16 oz. cream cheese (two regular sized “bricks”)
• ¾ C. Heavy Cream
• 3 Eggs
• ½ C. Powdered Sugar
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
Layer two:
• 1 ½ C. Sour Cream
• ¾ C. Yogurt
• ½ C. Powdered Sugar
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
• 2 C Frozen Cranberries
• 3 T. Port
• 1 ½ tsp. Cornstarch
• 12 small rosemary sprigs dusted with icing sugar, to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°C.
2. Process biscuits to fine crumbs in a food processor. Add butter and whiz to combine (we don’t have a food processor, so we mash the biscuits to bits in a ziplocked baggy). Press evenly into the base of a 9-inch springform cake pan and bake for 5 minutes.
3. Place cream cheese, heavy cream, eggs, ½ C sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in a mixer, and cream until smooth. Spread filling over biscuit base.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling has set. Remove cake from oven and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Seriously: you must let the cheesecake cool before putting the next layer on or it will crack open like the San Andreas fault.
5. Meanwhile, combine sour cream, yogurt, ½ C. powdered sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Spread over the cooled cake, then return to oven for a further 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours).
6. Place ½ C sugar, cranberries, and port in a saucepan over low heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Continue to cook until the cranberries give off their juice. Take out a little bit of the juice and mix the cornstarch into the dash of the juice, then return this mixture to the pan with berry mixture and continue to cook until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and cool—all the way cool.
7. To serve, top cake with cranberry sauce and garnish with the dusted rosemary sprigs.


Anonymous said...

I love making recipes with metric weights. If you buy a scale (maybe $20) it will be MUCH easier to follow a recipe, and also more accurate.

M said...

Good to know! I will add a scale to my wish list!