Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baked New York Cheesecake

Bonjour ETD Peeps! 

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post – I’ve been letting Gaffa take the reigns of the blog for awhile... even though I was a tad bit saddened by his recent rabbit post... :(

During our time at the Chateau in St. Ferriol, France, I’ve had the chance to bake some  very delicious cheesecakes! Queen Sophie is a huge lover of cheesecakes – who isn’t? Before she even met us, she checked out our blog and saw my Oreo Cheesecake post. I think that’s what sealed the deal for her letting us come stay! 

The first cheesecake I made for her to try was of course the Oreo Cheesecake. Queen Sophie was a bit alarmed by the number of calories in it (not sure exactly how much, but LOTS is an understatement!) But it went down well and even better with Prince Guilhem who yearned for cheesecake every night, so much that it was used as a good bargaining chip. “If you don’t do this, then no cheesecake for you!” Gotta love bribery!

A couple of days ago I made a New York cheesecake, as Queen Sophie prefers the biscuit base and plain cheese. I must say, the biscuit base is my favourite part of a cheesecake! And the original is always a winner! I adopted a recipe from www.taste.com.au

250g digestive biscuits (traditional British ones are the best, and a packet comes with left over to have with tea of course!)
125g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, softened
1 cup caster sugar 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
300g sour cream (when in France, use crème fraiche!)

Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan forced. Grease your pan - springform works best, but any round tin is fine.

Place biscuits in a food processor. Process until fine crumbs. Add butter. Process until combined. We didn’t have a food processor available, so I had do it the old fashioned way – with my hands. I used a mortar and pestle to crumb the biscuits.

doing it the old fashioned way
Press mixture over base and sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

The above quantities are a bit short for a base and sides, so this time I just made a base for the cheesecake. If you want to include sides, I suggest making one and a half of the quantity given.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating to combine. Fold in lemon juice and sour cream.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until centre is just firm. Allow to cool in oven for 3 hours, with door slightly ajar. Refrigerate overnight. 

One thing that the Chateau does not have yet is a fridge. But they do have areas of the Chateau that aren’t completely renovated yet, and not heated. So in winter they’re great for keeping things cool, so is outside. Queen Sophie keeps her white wine outside the front door to chill it. 

The night I made the New York Cheesecake, Queen Sophie was making a roast duck with roast vegetables, so the oven was out of use. So I prepared the base beforehand and “refrigerated” it in one of the cold rooms of the Chateau.

Sidetrack regarding the duck – A-MAZING! (Apparently you can’t screw up a roast duck.) And this roast ducky was just divine, complete with stuffing too! So good that it got a mention in the email I sent to my parents that night. But my fat fingers hit the ‘f’ instead of the ‘d’, whilst typing ‘duck’… thankfully I reread the email before sending it to the folks!!

Duck, before...

Duck, after....
While we were gorging on the duck the cheesecake was baking in the oven…. It was starting to go a slight golden brown colour with about 15 minutes to go, so I turned the temperature down a little bit, to reduce the burning, but still bake it for long enough. We carefully transported it back to our gite in Esperaza, to refrigerate overnight. The cheese firmed up while cooling, and being refrigerated… Looked and smelt delicious in the morning while it was being transported back to the Chateau for eating…

This time Prince Guilhem even got to help in the making of the cheesecake!

Ready to eat!
We had the first try of the cheesecake for afternoon tea. I also made a cherry topping to go with it. Just add some caster sugar with frozen fruit of your choice and mix together. 

Queen Sophie and Gaffa really loved the baked cheesecake. Gaffa said that I surpassed my cheesecake baking! :) I, on the otherhand, was abit disappointed with it. When I added in the eggs while beating the cheese together, the mixture became really fluffy - like when you overbeat eggs by themselves. I was using a hand mixer...not sure if that has anything to do with it... And you'll see in the pictures, that the cheese layer looks abit 'fluffy'... it tasted fine, but the cheese layer didn't look sleek and pretty. 

Maybe that's how baked cheesecakes are? Or maybe the eggs were over beaten? Who knows, guess I will just have to bake another one to compare! I'm sure Gaffa won't mind being my taste tester!

This is what was left over after one day of cheesecake eating:

must have been pretty tasty...
First Baked New York Cheesecake = SUCCESS! :D

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