Sunday, July 20, 2014

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Perfect for Sharing with Friends!

To be inspired is a state of mind in which you are always open and welcome influences wherever they may come from. While growing up, TV played an important part in shaping my personality and developing my food knowledge. Indeed, TV was my get-away and a big source of inspiration.

One of my favorite sitcoms while growing up was the Golden Girls. This show was amazing, its characters were smart, funny, complex and they all gathered around and shared a wonderful dessert: cheesecake.  Back then I didn't know what cheesecake was, but the image stuck into my mind and I became anxious to taste and prepare this seemingly creamy and delicious dessert. The first cheesecake recipe I got hold off was from a well-known cream cheese maker who plastered all kind of recipes featuring its brand of cream cheese on the back of the cheese packet.  I remember that I was pleasantly surprised with the final outcome so much that I continued making cheesecakes tweaking old recipes and trying new ones since then.

It is said that cheesecake goes back to the Greek times and when the Romans invaded Greece they carried on in making this recipe which changed through times and now is among the most popular desserts in many corners of the world!

Cheesecakes are now a group of desserts with various tastes and textures. Of course, the most famous variation remains the baked New York cheesecake. Whether baked or fresh, you'll never get bored of cheesecakes. Now to add my recipe to your repertoire, here's what you need.

For the base:
  • 120 g digestive cookies
  • 40 g melted butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar

To prepare the cookies place them in a plastic bag and with a rolling pin transform them into a coarse powder. Place the pulverized cookies in a spring-form pan (18 cm pan) add the melted butter and sugar, mix well then press the mixture to cover the bottom and the sides of the pan. Bake in a preheated oven (180 C) for 8 to 10 min. Leave to cool.

For the cheesecake mix:
  • 550 g cream-cheese room temperature
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp potato flour (or wheat flour)
  • 100 g white chocolate melted and cooled
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

In your mixer bowl, add the cheese and mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, chocolate and flour and mix again until well blended and no lumps are visible. Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing on a low speed, at the end add the salt and vanilla.

Pour the batter in the pan, and bake in a preheated oven (150 to 160 C). Usually it's customary to wrap the spring-form pan with aluminum foil and place it in another pan filled with warm water and then bake for the required time which is usually for a pan of this size one hour to one hour and a half (oven-dependent).  This bain-marie method of cooking is needed to bake your cake at a gentler heat to avoid surface cracks.
What I did is different though. I filled the middle layer of the oven, i.e. the oven tray, with warm water and then placed the cheesecake pan over a cookie sheet and put them over the oven tray. This created  a steamy environment in my oven and allowed the cheesecake to cook all the way through while retaining a smooth creamy texture and most importantly with no surface cracks whatsoever.

The cheesecake is delicious on its own but a berry coulis is always a great addition. I made one with summer berries. I used frozen berries to which I added some sugar and let them simmer over a gentle flame then passed them through a sieve!

A creamy, soft, cheesy and sweet filling with a crumbly base and a tangy sauce, isn't it the perfect dessert to serve for your innermost circle of friends while gathering and sharing latest news?