Friday, 27 July 2012

New York Cheesecake with Strawberries.

I went strawberry picking....look....

Although I am the very proud owner of 2 healthy and fruit yielding strawberry plants, the 2 strawberries a day I'm get from them at the mo, while they make me puff out my chest a bit with green fingered (HA) joy, don't satisfy my summer fruit requirement. 

I simple can't help it. For 7 months of the year our local fruit choices are apples, apples or well nothing. And then the sun is supposed to come out and make everything ripe and shiny but it doesn't because this is Scotland we're talking about here and things like that rarely go to plan so add another 2 months of promised fruit with no actual fruit and me being stroppy about living in a grey, wet cloud.

But fiiiinallllly, now that it's NEARLY AUGUST, the sun, well it's not exactly out, it's kind of teasing us and reminding us of it's existence without letting us get too excited while all London folk complain amount how stinkin' hot and humid it is...waahwaaah. SHH.

So anyway it was time, steaming hot day or no steaming hot day, for our annual trip to the lovely local Pick Your Own. We're lucky in Fife, there are many to choose from, it's berry country after all, but I couldn't not go back to the one we went to last has CHERRIES (for me) and DIGGERS (for Mr Love and Cake).

I left with my basket was full of berries, my head was full of baking notions and now my cake tin is full of cheesecake. And what a cheesecake. I think, according to Nige anyway, that what makes a New York Cheesecake a New York Cheesecake is that it's like and fluffy and eeeever so slightly leans towards an airy baked egg custard rather that being one of those rich, fudgey, claggy ones. I have love for both but the lightness goes best with summer I think, or the hope of it at least. With Love and Cake.

New York Cheesecake with Strawberries.
From Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess.

A few notes:

  • Didn't go strawberry picking? No probs...leave your cake topless (ooooo) or sub in some other berries.
  • With this many biscuits to crush, you'll save yourself a lot of bother by crushing them in a food processor. It isn't the end of the world if this isn't an option for you though...double bag them, bashbashbashbash with a rolling pin and think of all the extra calories you can replace with cake.
Makes one mighty hefty cake
You will need

For the cake

1x23cm loose bottomed or spring sided cake tin, greased

250g digestive biscuits, crushed
150g butter, melted
225g caster sugar + 3 extra tbsps
2 tbsp cornflour
750g cream cheese
6 eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
150ml double cream 
150ml sour cream
pinch salt
zest of 1 lemon

For the berries
350g strawberries, halved or quartered
75g icing sugar 
2 tsp cornflour 
a few drops of red food colouring (optional)

  • So lets bake a cheesecake. First for the base you need to mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and the 3 tablespoons of caster sugar.
  • Press the sandy mixture evenly into the bottom of your cake tin and leave to set in the fridge while you get on with the filling.
  • Preheat your oven to 170°c.
  • In your largest bowl combine the 225g caster sugar and cornflour.
  • Then beat in the cream cheese, egg yolks and vanilla, either with an electric hand whisk or with a wooden spoon (more calories burned).
  • Add the double and sour cream while continuing to beat and finally get the salt and lemon in there.
  • In a separate clean bowl and with a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites so they form stiff peaks and fold them gently, a bit at a time, into the cream cheese mixture.
  • Set your cake tin onto a baking sheet in case of leaks and pour the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base.
  • Bake the cake, still sat on the baking sheet, for 1 hour, at which point check that it's brown on top and that there's only a hint of wobble want some, just not too much. If there's too much wobble (nobody wants too much wobble) bake the cake for another 15 minutes and check again. 
  • When you're satisfied that the wobble is just hinted at, turn the oven off but leave the cake inside with the door shut until completely cool. If other people use your oven maybe put a MASSIVE note somewhere so they know not to absent mindedly turn it on a ruin your hard, calorie burning work.
  • While the cake is cooking and cooling you can get on with the berries.
  • Combine the strawberries with the icing sugar and let them stand for at least half an hour, I left mine overnight.
  • Then drain the liquid off, saving the lovely ruby juice.
  • Pop the juice into a little saucepan and add the cornflour and food colouring if you want extra rubyness.
  • Heat the juice gently so that it thickens and becomes syrupy, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
  • Mix the cold syrup back into the strawberries and they're ready to spoon over your ready and waiting cheesecake. 
  • You made a cheesecake...BRING ME SOME.

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