luscious white chocolate cheesecake

I've made so many recipes from Belinda Jeffery's book, Mix and Bake, that the cover is starting to tear. That's always the sign of a much loved, much used and much trusted recipe book.

This cheesecake recipe intrigued me because it's nothing like the ones I make. Let's just say I'm biased and in general I prefer the European style cheesecake and this recipe is more like a traditional New York style cheesecake. I went out on a limb and went ahead and made the cheesecake knowing it was going to be hard to impress me.

I followed the recipe to the letter but the white chocolate seized a bit when I mixed it into the cheesecake batter. Next time I'd melt the white chocolate in the warm cream ganache style, cooling the ganache to room temperature before adding it to the cream cheese mixture. 

I decided to decorate my cake with a few raspberries and some finely chopped pistachios for added colour and crunch.

Instead of making one large cake I decided to make smaller cheesecakes. I halved the mixture and it made two 12 cm cakes so you should be able to make four cakes from this recipe. Here's the recipe for you, pretty much faithfully copied from Mix and Bake. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Luscious White Chocolate Cheesecake from Mix and Bake by Belinda Jeffery. 

Serves 10-12

220 g good-quality white chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
450 g cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup (55 g) caster sugar
3 tsp cornflour
3 eggs
3 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1½ tbs strained fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
2 cups (500 ml) sour cream
1 cup (250 ml) thickened cream
Fruit for topping (I chose raspberries)
Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm spring-form cake pan (or four 12 cm spring-form pans) and line base with baking paper. Wrap the outside tightly in a double layer of foil (this prevents any cake mixture seeping out or any water seeping in as the cake cooks in a water bath). Sit the cake tin in a large roasting pan and set aside.

Put the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor and whiz them together for 30 seconds until they’re very smooth. Add the cornflour and give the machine a quick burst to mix it in. With the processor going add the eggs through the feed tube one at a time, whizzing each one in well before adding the next. At this stage stop the processor to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is mixed in.

Sprinkle in the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and whiz them in briefly. Add both the sour and thickened cream and pulse them in with on/off turns of the processor only until they’re just blended in. Scrape in the cooled melted chocolate and pulse it in too until the mixture is smooth. Scrape the cheesecake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come up about 3 cm up the side of the cake tin. Carefully transfer the whole lot to the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cake in the oven for 1 hour without opening the door.

Remove the cake tin from the water bath and unwrap the foil liner. Cool the cake completely in its tin on a wire rack. Once cool cover the tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cakes for 6 hours or preferably, overnight. The cake keeps well for up to a week in the fridge; however if you’re storing the cake for any length of time, remove the outer ring of the tin once the cake is firm to stop any discolouration from the tin.

When you’re ready to serve the cheesecake, sit the pan on a very hot, damp tea towel to help loosen it a bit and run a fine palette knife around the sides of the cake. Invert the cake onto serving plates and remove the tin and paper. If there’s a bit of moisture mop it up gently with kitchen paper. Decorate the top with fruit – I think it looks best when the fruit tumbles down the sides a bit and looks higgledy-piggledy to serve rather than carefully placed.

Dust with icing sugar just before serving. For clean sharp slices, cut the cheesecake with a hot, dry knife.

The verdict? I still prefer my European cheesecake but this one is pretty good. The cheesecake is silky smooth and light but I found it a little bland as all that cream masks the flavour of the cream cheese. The recipe contains very little sugar so I thought a little more sugar wouldn't have gone astray either. It's very easy to make though. The hardest part of the recipe is waterproofing the tins and getting the cooled cheesecake off the base. In the end I put a wet cloth into the microwave and heated it for 45 seconds and once I applied the cloth to the base, it did the trick.

Last week was busy and I'm still a bit tired from the drive up to Brisbane and back. I'm looking forward to the ong weekend and the all QLD Rugby League Grand Final.

See you all again next week with something from my kitchen.

Bye for now. 



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