It’s thought that cheesecake probably has its origins in Ancient Greece when a version of it was served to athletes participating in the Olympic Games. Its popularity has remained through the years, and it’s probably more popular than ever today.
We have two recipes for baked cheesecakes, one using Pastry and the other having a biscuit-crumb base. Both are well-tried and tested, and enthusiastically received by our families!
New Yorkers are inclined to claim cheesecake as a New York invention although that’s only partly true. Creameries in upstate New York invented a type of cream cheese that bakeries started using for cheesecakes in the 1920s. These were famously sold in delis and theatre cafes and became known as New York cheesecakes.
‘New York’ Cheesecake
- 60g (2½ oz) butter, softened
- 60g (2½ oz) caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 225g (8 oz) plain flour
- 700g (1½ lb) full-fat cream cheese
- 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 240ml (8 fl oz) soured cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Sieve the flour and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 beaten egg, stirring well after each addition. Beat in the sieved flour. Work into a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to fit the base and sides of a loose-bottomed 9” tin. Press the pastry onto the base and against the sides. Trim the pastry from around the edge of the tin. Prick the base well with a fork. Bake for 5 minutes until the pastry is just set.
If you have a problem with the sides collapsing inwards, crumple some greaseproof paper and place it in the pastry case, so that it pushes out the sides, before cooking. Remove after 5 minutes and leave the pastry case in the oven for another 2 minutes to allow the base to finish cooking.
Meanwhile make the filling. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and add the lemon rind, lemon juice and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Mix until smooth. Stir in the eggs and beat until evenly blended. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 150oC, gas mark 2 and bake for 30 minutes. While the cheesecake is baking, beat the soured cream with the vanilla essence and the remaining sugar.
After the 30 minutes check to see if the cheesecake is ready: it should still be wobbly but just firm in the centre. Remove it from the oven and gently spread the topping over. Return the cheesecake to the oven for another 10 minutes. Cool and serve either chilled or at room temperature with pouring cream.
Best made the day before you need it to allow the flavours and texture to develop.
This recipe for cheesecake is based on one of Delia Smith’s and is one of our most often requested desserts!
- 225g (8 oz) digestives
- 50g (2 oz) butter
- 700g (1½ lb) soft cheese – a mixture of ½ lb cottage cheese and 1 lb cream cheese works well
- 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 275ml (10fl oz or ½ pint) double cream
- A mixture of strawberries and kiwi fruit
Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2.
Crush the digestive biscuits to make crumbs – putting them in a plastic bag and bashing with a rolling pin is ideal as well as a good stress-buster! Melt the butter and mix into the crumbs, making sure all the crumbs get a coating. Tip into the base of a 9” loose-bottomed tin and even out. Press them so they go slightly up the edge.
Mix together the cheese, sugar and eggs until well-blended. Pour over the biscuit base and bake for about 30 minutes. It should be just firm in the middle. Switch off the oven and leave the cheesecake in to cool. Then chill the cheesecake overnight preferably.
Carefully turn out of the tin – don’t worry if the cheesecake cracks as it will be covered with cream and fruit. Whip the cream until thick and spread over the top of the cheesecake. Decorate with slices of strawberry and kiwi fruit (or other fruit to taste). Serve in small portions with pouring cream.