Monday, April 29, 2013

london cheesecake

It has been a while!!! Yes, yes, you have heard it all before - I have been busy, blah, blah, blah.. In this instance, it happens to be true - I had another baby since my last post, set up another business and have been running around like a headless chicken (what a thought!) trying to hold everything together.

Now that my little girl is all grown up, well, all 10 months of her anyway, I have been itching to cook and bake again.

My Little JL :)

My recent obsessions have been mainly Korean - Pajeon (the only Korean food that my hubby (henceforth known as (my) Lord and Master, aka, LAM, will eat willingly - "Korean Pancake!" he says), Doenjang Jjigae, Dwaeji Kalbi, etc, but those are all for another post since I was so excited with the results of those dishes that they were all eaten before I had a chance to take any pictures.

A couple of weeks ago, the LAM and I brought our kiddos out for dinner. While I rarely eat dessert, I had a craving for something sweet that night. Since the dessert menu was not very extensive, we ended up ordering a piece of cheesecake to share.

The cheesecake was just so terribly so-so that I have been thinking of making one myself for the last 14 or so days. And the problem with that is once an idea gets into my head, I simply cannot dispel it. 

So! Since we have friends coming over with their kids tomorrow for a swim and dinner date, what better chance to make, yes, you guess it, a cheesecake!

The LAM and I have tried making a few types of cheesecake before. We found that we prefer a denser cheesecake. That means a ton of cream cheese. SIGH. My already expanded waistline weeps at the thought, but what is the point of eating cheesecake if it is not cheesy?? Have we all not had some pseudo-cheesecake that had been bulked up with cake or cream, or god knows what else, because cream cheese is not cheap?? SACRILEGIOUS!! 

As all cheesecakes go, this one started with a digestive biscuit base. The recipe calls for normal digestive biscuits but I happened to have some chocolate ones sitting in my fridge (for emergencies only, I swear!) so I decided to use them instead.

I used a 9-inch Springform Cheesecake pan (the recipes calls for an 8-inch one) and I was a tad worried about there not being enough biscuit base  to cover the entire bottom of the pan. It turned out I need not have worried because there was enough - unless you like a really thick base (EEK??) then by all means increase the quantity of the biscuits. I also used my beautiful food processor to blitz the biscuits but I am sure they can be bashed up using a rolling pin. 

The base was left to set in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) before I wrapped the base with aluminum foil. I am super KS and used 2 layers of super strong foil because I really, really do not want any water from the bain marie to get into my cheesecake (YUKS).

Once that was done, I got on with the cheesecake mixture. I mixed everything together until the batter was smooth and shiny. It is important to taste the mixture and adjust the amount of lemon juice that you use because some lemons are more tart than others. If you are squirmish about eating raw eggs, then a cheesecake is probably not the thing you'd wanna make. YOU MUST TASTE THE MIXTURE BEFORE YOU BAKE IT!

And then pour it over the base.

Smooth with a spatula, and you will have the most beautiful looking cheesecake ready to be baked!

The other important thing about making a cheesecake is that you need to keep an eye on it towards the end. I don't mean constantly opening the oven door to peek (NO NO NO!) but to sort of press the top very gently to check the if it is ready. Personally I prefer a cheesecake that is more "set" (firmer to the touch) but once the LAM and I baked a cheesecake and it was not as "set" as we would normally have it and he loved it! So it is a matter or trial and error and finding that right firmness at the end of the day. At this stage, the top of the cake is firm enough to not collapse under the weight of the topping that I shall be using but it is still very wobbly beneath. 

This cake is so pretty! Pity that the top will be covered with a sour cream topping. The topping is optional but I think that it does complement the cheesecake. If you do not want to put the topping then simply bake the cake for about 10-15 more minutes.

I simply made the topping and then used the back of a spoon to spread it around. 

The result should be a dense, dense cheesecake that tastes of cheese. As it should. HMMMMMMMM :)

From "How to be a Domestic Goddess" by Nigella Lawson.


For the base

  • 150 grams digestive biscuits
  • 75 grams unsalted butter (melted or very soft)
  • 600 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • large eggs
  • large egg yolks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

For the topping

  • 145 ml sour cream
  • tablespoon caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract