Robert asked for panini and cheesecake for his birthday dinner and since he took me to Lake Como, gave me a vintage diamond and sapphire ring, and asked me to be his wife for my birthday, I figured I should indulge him ;-)
I can do panini backwards in 140mm Louboutin stiletto heels, but I hadn't made a cheesecake in years.
Luckily I had made lots of cheesecakes once upon a time, so after I dealt with the fact that you can't get graham crackers in Denmark, I was pretty much in business.
I'm not a fan of fussy recipes. I don't like cheesecake recipes that call for a complicated filling, a waterbath bake, or fancy sour cream topping. I like simple cheesecake... a butter, sugar and graham cracker crust filled with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
1 1/4 cups crushed digestive biscuits
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
When I lived in the States, like most people, I used a crushed graham cracker crust. But I've never seen graham crackers in Denmark and I wasn't motivated to try to make my own, so I used digestive biscuits
, which are the American expat go-to substitute in pretty much all graham cracker situations.
The crust is very straightforward... mix together the crushed biscuits and sugar, add the butter, stir to combine, then press the mixture into the bottom of a greased spring-form pan... I suggest also lining the bottom of the pan with parchment.
I pre-bake my crust at 175 degrees (350 fahrenheit). If you're short on time, it's ok to skip this step, but it helps to prevent a soggy crust.
600g cream cheese
(approx. 24 oz)
3/4 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
It's best to start with room temperature ingredients. On the lowest possible speed, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. If you whip too much air into the filling, it will crack during baking/cooling. Add the eggs and mix just until it's all combined, then spread it into the cooled crust.
Bake it at 175 degrees (350 fahrenheit) for about 40 minutes. It's done baking when there's a 2-3 inch bit in the middle that's unset. At that point, turn off the oven, open the door and leave the cheesecake to cool in the open oven. Cooling it gradually will make it less likely to crack or sink.
I've always made my cheesecake a day ahead of time so it can chill overnight for the best texture. I take it out of the fridge 15 minutes or so before serving, and top it with macerated strawberries.
Labels: baking, food, recipes, vegetarian