A while back, Jay was kind enough to share with us one of his recipes for cheesecake. Since I’ve run out of Battlestar Galactica episodes to watch ( 🙁 ), and was bored, I decided to give the recipe a whirl.
Whilst it is a simple recipe, it does take a bit of time, so pop a good album on the stereo – I find John Mayer is rather good – and settle in for an fun afternoon in the kitchen. By the way, I’m a convert to the American way of measuring. Cups are just so much more fun than boring grams! But for those of you who don’t have the benefit of a flatemate who lived in Canada for two years, and so have cup-measures in your kitchen cupboards, here are some handy conversion tables
Basic cheesecake recipe
- 1 1/2 cups Graham or Oreo crumbs
- 2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine
- 3 pkg. [8 oz. each] cream cheese – softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 eggs
- Beat the crap out of some biscuit till they are even crumbs, and melt the margarine
- Mix the butter and the crumbs and press that into a 8 or 9 inch springform pan – this recipe is scaled for a 9 inch tin. I had 8 inch tins and ended up making one and a half cheesecakes.
- Mix the cheese and sugar, get it smooth.
- Add one egg at a time, mixing just till blended.
- STIR in the vanilla – which is optional – at this point you can add just about any flavouring you want, like 6-8 oz of melted chocolate for example, in which case Iâ€™d still add the vanilla.
- You can add some sort of liqueur as well, like 1/4 of Kahlua, Tia Maria, Ameretto or Baileyâ€™sâ€¦ you get the idea!
- Bake at 350Â°F for about 45-50 minutes. The centre will still be a little bit â€œjigglyâ€, itâ€™ll continue cooking even when itâ€™s out of the oven.
- Run a knife around the edges and let it coolâ€¦ shove it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- You can put whatever you want on top, fruit, whipped cream, chocolate ganache, coulis, melted chocolateâ€¦ again, you get the idea, itâ€™s very versitile.
A few extra pointers:
- Due to a distinct lack of interesting biscuits in this country, I opted for the old family favourite of a blend of shortcake, gingernut, and chocolate digestive biscuits for the base.
- 1 1/2 cups of crumbs very roughly equates to about 200g of biscuits. How many you use also depends on the size of your tin and how deep you want your base to be. What we do at home is keep a tub of biscuit crumbs for any excess – that way we always have crumbs on hand to make cheesecakes (or to feed the birds) and nothing gets wasted.
- Beating the crap out of biscuits (especially gingernuts) is hard going. If you’ve got a small child handy, pass them the rolling pin and let them at it! I always had an absolute blast breaking up the biscuits when I was a kid – how many times are you told you are allowed to hit things, hard? Failing small children, rope in a flatmate or spouse, or anyone else unlucky enough to wander through the kitchen. Unless of course you’ve been lazy and not gone to the gym, because it sure is a good workout for the arms!
- I also melted a 125g block of Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate (dark chocolate and ginger) and added this at the same time as the vanilla. Three tips here:
1) let the chocolate cool slightly before you add it to the mix, and add it slowly, or else you might curdle the eggs.
2) don’t try and melt this chocolate in the microwave. The ginger burns! Much better to do it slowly in a bain marie (that’s a bowl over simmering water). I’d start it melting before you do anything else.
3) I wouldn’t personally recommend a chocolate with ginger bits in it. It tastes nice, just I wouldn’t do it again. Also, one block of chocolate wasn’t quite enough for a really rich flavour.
- “Jiggly” in the centre is hard to judge – I took it out when the the majority was solid and it was just starting to noticeably darken in the middle. This was actually at 40 minutes, so cooking time depends on your oven, size of dish and… oh, what way the wind is blowing! Cooking is half making it up as you go along anyway. So long as you enjoy it, that’s all that matters 🙂
Again, not exactly the healthiest thing I’ve ever cooked, but fun. This was the first time I’d baked a cheesecake and it felt odd putting it in the oven, but it worked and I will certainly be playing with this some more 😀