Tuesday, August 26, 2014

perfect lemon cheesecake with vanilla bean sour cream and raspberry coulis

I have searched long and hard for a good basic cheesecake recipe. There are many great recipes out there, but I wanted one that would produce a down-to-earth yet rich and smooth cheesecake.

And it had to be fool-proof so I could be sure that I would be able to get a good cheesecake every time.

The cake also should be versatile so I could add fruit or any other filling if I want. 
 Not a lot to ask for, huh?

There are a few recipes that I liked, so I combined the "best" parts of these recipes and came up with this particular recipe that I really like. I think I have finally found my prefect cheesecake.

Our friends, Arthur and Margaret, came over for dinner the other night with their son, Sebastian, and Arthur is a huge cheesecake fan. I mean, I don't think I have seen anyone eat more cheesecake in a single sitting. But hey, when he requested for cheesecake for dessert, I was more than happy to make it for him because I love the cake too!

Apart from the fact that cheesecakes are really easy to make (and that they taste so darn good), they have to be made a day in advance, which means that you have more time to cook whatever else that is in the menu on the day of the dinner party!
To make the cheesecake, I started by blitzing the graham crackers in a food processor. I always use my food processor to make cheesecakes. If you don't have a one, you can place the crackers in a tea towel and bash them with a rolling pin and make the filling in a cake mixer.
I added the butter and vanilla extract and blitzed again until I had what resembled coarse breadcrumbs.
I poured this on to a greased and lined Springform pan.
And pressed the crumbs down firmly with a cup. You can use anything that is handy and has a flat base.
This was placed in the fridge to set.

In the meantime, I made the filling by blitzing the cream cheese for 3-4 minutes until it was soft and fluffy.
Into this, I added sugar, and blitzed some more.
While that happened, I zested a lemon and juiced it.
I used the juice of the entire lemon because I like my cheesecake slightly tart. If you prefer it to be less sour, then reduce the amount of juice added.

The eggs were added (one at a time) to the cream cheese mixture, and mixed.
This was followed by the lemon zest and juice.
Once everything was well-combined, the filling was ready.
This was poured into the Springform pan.
I wrapped the bottom of the pan with heavy duty aluminium foil, then placed it into a roasting pan.
I poured hot water into the roasting pan, then baked the cake.
When the cake was baked, I propped the oven door open with a wooden spoon and left the cake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Baking the cheesecake in a ban marie (ie, water bath) ensures an even temperature while baking. I believe that this prevents cracks from forming on the cake. Leaving the cake in the oven for a while after it has finished baking means that the cake is not subjected to a sudden change in temperature and I have noticed that this means that the cake tends not to shrink so much.
To make the topping, I whisked together sour cream, vanilla bean paste (or the seeds of a vanilla pod) and sugar.
I carefully poured this on the cake, and spread it evenly with a spatula.
This was then placed back into the oven and baked for another 10 minutes. (You do not need to use a water bath for this step.)
When baked, the cake was cooled and placed into the fridge to chill over night.
I served the cake with raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries. But you can add any toppings or fruit that you like.
It really is the perfect cheesecake.

HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM :)

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RECIPE
Perfect Lemon Cheesecake (Serves 10-12)

Ingredients:
For the cheesecake:
30 graham crackers
1/4 cup (56.5g) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
24oz (750g) cream cheese, at room temperature
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon (Reduce this to 1/2 lemon if you prefer this to be less tart)

For the topping:
14 oz (400 g) sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar

For the raspberry coulis:
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
350g raspberries (fresh)
1/8 cup (25g) caster sugar
1/2 (7.5ml) tablespoon lemon juice

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line and grease a 9-inch Springform pan.
2. Blitz or crush the graham crackers. Add melted butter and vanilla extract, blitz or stir to combine.
3. Pour the crumbs into the pan. Use a cup to press crumbs tightly onto the base and sides of the pan. Chill in fridge.
4. Soften cream cheese by blitzing in the food processor for about 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can beat using the paddle attachment of the cake mixer.
5. Add sugar and salt and mix.
6. Add eggs, one at a time and blitz to combine. Add lemon zest and juice. Make sure the mixture is well-combined.
7. Pour mixture into pan. Wrap the pan in heavy duty aluminium foil (use 2 layers of foil if it is not heavy duty) and place the Springform pan in a roasting pan.
8. Pour hot water (enough to come up to half way up the pan) and bake in oven for 45 minutes. After this time, turn off the oven, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and leave the cake in the oven for 30 minutes.
9. Make the topping by whisking together sour cream, vanilla bean paste and sugar. Remove foil, pour over the cake and use a spatula to smooth the top.
10. Bake at 160°C (325°F) for 10 minutes.
11. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack then place in fridge to chill over night.
12. Make the raspberry coulis by combining raspberries and sugar in a saucepan. Cook until raspberries are broken down, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain to remove the seeds. Chill before using.
13. Serve the cake as it is, or with whipped cream and/or fruit. If you like, you can also drizzle chocolate sauce over the cake.



9 comments:

  1. Hi Diana,

    Love your perfect cheesecake!

    My colleagues and I called this the double baked cheesecake! Yeah. It is a must to bake this cake in the water bath... It gives the cake a super smooth texture :D Delish!

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, I 101% agree with you - I had a long thought after making the Japanese cheesecakes and ended up combining the methods for that and the American cheesecake!

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  2. Hi, its beautiful! Am hoping to bake this for my gal's 5th bday this sunday. May i just ask how do u make the raspberry coulis? Thanks much!

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    Replies
    1. Hi I have updated the recipe to include the raspberry coulis!

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  3. Looks super yummy! So gonna make this with my new food processor!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Emily!!! Send me a picture of your cake!! :)

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  4. Hi Diana! Oh, I love the colour of the raspberry coulis. So fierce! This is a really lovely cheesecake and I really appreciate the photos of how you lined the pan (I used to wonder if I could line the pan with this type of cheesecake!) and wrapped the pan in aluminium foil. You are not a Domestic Goddess Wannabe, you are already a Domestic Goddess!

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  5. Oh wow! this is what I call the ultimate cheesecake....looks gorgeous!

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  6. I believe this is the best cheese cake that u called. Because I can see through from your picture!

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