12 febbraio 2013

New York Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

Now that I have decided to start a blog, I have a million recipes flowing through my head that I want to try and post. However, deciding which should have the honor of being my first has proven rather difficult. In the end, I have decided to go with the first thing I truly made on my own 12-15 years ago: New York Cheesecake with raspberry topping.
Historical records show that cheesecake has been enjoyed for millennia, including by the ancient Greeks and later the Romans. Cheesecake is generally based on an unripened cheese, which is thicker and creamier than ripe cheese, and several variations have been developed in different regions: North Americans use cream cheese, Italians use ricotta, Dutch and Germans use kwark (or quark), French use Neufchâtel cheese, etc. This became apparent to me when I was travelling around Europe and noticed that cheesecake seemed to pop up everywhere but it was not the same in every country and certainly not the New York style cheesecake I had come to love at home. New York style cheesecake relies on the addition of heavy cream or sour cream (No wonder we love it so much) to impart its stereotypical smooth, dense and creamy texture.
The key to making a great cheesecake is to avoid incorporating too much air into the batter, which will cause the cake to rise and possibly crack. Don’t beat the mixture any more than necessary and be sure to bang out as many bubbles as possible before baking. Placing a small ramekin with water in it into the oven, to generate moister, can also help prevent cracking.

New York Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping Recipe

  • The original recipe (given below) is designed for one large cheesecake but I halved it and made two 6 in (10 cm) cakes
  • In the Netherlands, graham crackers are usually only found in the expat grocery shops and can be quite expensive so plain digestives are a good alternative. I used a blender to crush them.
  • For the topping, I used low sugar raspberry jam because I prefer the topping to be quite tart in order to cut through the sweetness of the cake. You can add additional sugar if you like.
  • 200 g crushed graham crackers
  • 25 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 900 g cream cheese, softened
  • 300 g white sugar
  • 190 mL milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 mL sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 30 g all-purpose flour
  • 300 g fresh red raspberries
  • 100 mL low sugar red raspberry jam
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • Sugar if desired

For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C) and lightly grease a 10 in (24 cm) spring form pan. Place a strip of baking paper around the edge of the pan that is wide enough to stick out above.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Press firmly onto the bottom of the spring form pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth but do not over mix. Blend in the milk and then the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Finally, add the sour cream, vanilla and flour and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour the filling onto the prepared crust and bang the pan firmly on the counter several times. You will see small air bubbles work their way to the surface and pop.
  5. Bake the cake in a preheated oven for approximately 1 hour. You do not want to over bake it so watch it closely at the end. When it is done, the cake should be set except for a 2-3 in (5-7 cm) wobbly patch in the middle (the cake will continue to cook after you turn the oven off and this part will firm up). You don’t want the cake to rise too much or to brown on top.
  6. Once baked, turn the oven off and let the cake cool in oven with the door closed for an hour. As tempting as it is to eat right away, a cheesecake is best cold so place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
For the raspberry topping:
  1. Place the raspberries and jam into a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until the mixture liquefies. Add the cornstarch a little at a time, whisky vigorously to prevent clumps. Allow the mixture to cook for 5-10 minutes until it thickens up. During this time, continue to stir and add extra sugar if it is too tart.
  2. Once cooked, pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. It will be quite thick so you will have to use a spatula to push it through. Store in the fridge until completely cooled.
  3. When ready, whisk the topping quickly so it is smooth and then gently spread over the cold cheesecake.

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