Cheesecakes make great desserts. There are two types which can be made; both of which are very different from each other.
The first are uncooked cheesecakes and are usually set using gelatine; the other are baked cheesecakes. Many people think that baked cheesecakes are very “heavy” and stodgy and steer away from them. Whilst they are undeniably rich, if made with care, they can still be creamy and smooth.
The recipe that I give here is for a New York Cheesecake. I like to serve it with seasonal berries, which help cut through the richness. I sometimes leave out the layer of sour cream on the top, but I do like the sour tang that the cream lends.
One tip that I would give is do not over mix the filling…If you do, the cheesecake will be more inclined to crack on cooling. Granted, this can be “disguised” by adorning the top of the cheesecake with a layer of sour cream. Another tip to avoid cracking is to let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar when it has finished baking and you have turned off the oven.
For the base:
200g digestive biscuits
25g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
For the filling:
600g full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
200g caster sugar
300ml tub soured cream
3 large free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
50g plain flour, sifted
1. To make the base, whizz the biscuits in a food processor to fine crumbs, or put them in a sealed plastic freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. Tip into a medium bowl and mix with the sugar and melted butter.
2. Press the mixture evenly into a greased 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin, then chill for at least 30 minutes.
3. To make the filling, mix the cream cheese, sugar and 200ml of the soured cream together in a medium bowl until smooth – don’t overbeat (see tip above). Gently beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla. Fold in the flour to form a smooth batter.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
5. Remove the tin from the fridge and spoon the filling over the base. Put the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes until the top is golden, set at the edges but just wobbly in the middle. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
6. When cool, transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours or ideally overnight.
7. To serve, spoon the remaining soured cream over the cheesecake and smooth out.