Monday, October 8, 2007
Baked Melbourne cheesecake
Today, Patsy from work celebrated her birthday. Patsy is "top bird" in Australian parlance - she is a hard worker, easy to chat to and enjoys a drink and a laugh.
Patsy's request when pressed for a birthday cake preference was for a baked cheesecake. This stems from an amusing but strange incident back when I made the baked lemon cheesecake. Patsy was away on the afternoon on which the lemon cheesecake was served, so I promised to save her a piece. Someone else made a strawberry refrigerator cheesecake that day, so we duly saved Patsy a slice of each and placed them on a plate wrapped in Gladwrap (cling film) and labelled "Patsy" with a post-it note. Because there were many distractions that afternoon, there was still a fair amount of both cheesecakes left over, so we gave away pieces to people on other floors. Despite this, when I came to work the next working day, the slice of baked cheesecake that I had carefully saved for Patsy had mysteriously disappeared! Given my promise to save her a piece of cheesecake, Patsy politely asked if I had remembered, and I told her the story of the disappearing cheesecake. We both had a laugh about it at the time - I actually found it quite flattering that someone had bothered to "nick" it. However, when I asked Patsy about her birthday cake preference, she was unequivocal in her request for cheesecake, as she had missed out last time.
I chose to make Patsy that king of cheesecakes, the New York baked cheesecake. However, given that it was made in Melbourne, I have redubbed it the Melbourne cheesecake. Recipes for New York cheesecake abound, and I ultimately made a hybrid of various versions. I also decided not to hold back, and used full fat cream cheese (although I still used reduced fat sour cream). My recipe is as follows:
250g crushed plain sweet biscuits (I used Arnotts morning coffee)
125g melted butter
500g cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat sour cream)
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sour cream (again I used a reduced fat variety)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Grease a 20cm springform pan and preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Combine the melted butter and crushed biscuits, and press onto the base and up the sides of the springform pan. (Tip - use a glass to help you push the crumb mix up the sides of the pan. However, don't ask me how to make it even!) Chill the base in the fridge while preparing the filling.
Beat the cubed cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the zest and sugar and beat well. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by sour cream and juice. Pour into the biscuit base, place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Don't worry if the top cracks - this will be covered with the topping. Take cheesecake out of the oven and cool while preparing the topping.
Combine the topping ingredients and spread over the top of the cheesecake. Bake the cheesecake for a further 10 minutes, then switch off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door ajar. Once cool, place the cheesecake in the fridge overnight to chill.
This cheesecake is smooth and velvety. Because it is fairly rich, you only need a small piece to be satisfied. I also think it is a very "grown up" cheesecake, because of its sophisticated appearance and taste. I liked this recipe because the end result was not overly heavy, as is the tendency with baked cheesecakes that you find in coffee shops.
Judging from the fact that every last piece of this cheesecake disappeared, I believe it was a success. Most importantly, Patsy enjoyed it and saved a piece for her husband. Happy birthday Patsy!