New York-style Baked Cheesecake

I’ve been making this cheesecake for friends for 25 years, for birthdays, Christmas, weddings, etc. They are always surprised that it’s not professionally made (I never say how easy it is to make!).

See the footnotes for ideas on jazzing it up. Kudos to my 1980s-vintage Good Housekeeping Cookbook for the original inspiration.

Serves: 12

 

Ingredients
For the crumb base:

  • 230g gluten-free sweet oat biscuits, crushed
  • 50g pecans, crushed (optional)
  • 50g butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 900g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 large eggs
  • 300ml soured cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1/2 a lemon, juice only
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (with seeds, if possible)
  • 300g caster sugar

Kit

  • A 24cm diameter round, springform cake tin
  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer (hand-held or stand) if you don’t want to mix the filling manually
  • Palette knife, or spatula
  • Cooling rack
  • Large serving plate/platter

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted).
  2. Mix the crumb base ingredients until fully moistened and combined, and press evenly over the bottom of the tin, ensuring the mixture goes about 2/3 up the height of the ring. Use your knuckles around the bottom edge to press in, so you don’t leave it too thick there.
  3. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the remaining filling ingredients and keep mixing until there are no lumps. Pour the filling over the base, smoothing the top with a spatula or palette knife for a flat surface.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, turning the tin – carefully! – halfway through for even baking. After an hour, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in, door closed, for a further 30 minutes. Don’t use a skewer to test when it’s done, go by looks and touch – you should have a browned, slightly puffed ring around the sides, and a flatter, lighter centre section which is firm to the touch with a slight bounce. Remove to a cooling rack.
  5. As the cake cools, it will shrink slightly inside the ring. After 5 – 10 minutes, gently insert a palette knife or spatula around the inside of the ring, going all the way down, to loosen the cake and crumb base from the ring, before releasing the ring clip and lifting off the ring. When the cake is fully cooled, slide the cake off the base onto a large serving platter.

Non Gluten-Free
If not on a GF diet, you can use 15 plain Hob Nobs for the crumb base which yield, when crushed, 230g.

Topping Option
The perfect topping to balance the richness is sliced cherries, soaked in kirsch (cherry liqueur) with the grated zest of half a lemon. If using fresh fruit not tinned, cook on the hob on a low heat with the kirsch and lemon zest until softened. Spoon over each slice or on the side of each plate when serving.

Chocolate Marbled Cheesecake
You can make a swirled cheesecake by splitting the filling at Step 3 into two bowls, mixing 3 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder into one bowl. Pour about 1/3 of each mixture at a time, alternating, into the tin, then use a skewer (or long spoon handle) to swirl them together in the design of your choice – zigzags, figure-8s, circles, etc. (Make sure you don’t drag along the crumb base with your skewer/spoon handle, which will mix the base into the filling.)

Baking Tip
I place a baking tray on the oven rack underneath the cheesecake tin, to catch any excess butter that drips out during baking. This happens until you learn the fat content of the biscuits (and nuts) you use for the crumb base, and can adjust the butter to match.

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