Friday, 23 August 2013

Baked Vanilla and Berry Cheesecake

Since I discovered the wonder that is the baked cheesecake a few years back, thanks to one of my sisters, I have been meaning to try bake one for myself. I went with a typical New York vanilla style but decided to add a little a little touch of summer by incorporating some fresh summer berries. My favourite berries are raspberries, but you could certainly go with blueberries or blackberries instead, even halved strawberries would work nicely. This recipe is incredibly easy. The texture is great, more dense than a fridge-chilled cheesecake, but nonetheless, delicious and it also looks pretty, so it's a bit of a knock out dessert for a dinner party! Plus, cheesecake is best prepared the day before, giving you plenty of time to focus on more pressing issues while hosting a dinner party - such as popping open and enjoying a glass of sparkling wine - just as an example!


Base -

  • 210 g shortbread biscuits
  • 55 g unsalted butter, melted
Filling -
  • 400 g cream cheese
  • 190 g caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar to intensify the colour, but regular caster sugar is perfect too)
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 250 mg tub Glenisk Crème fraîche
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste (The black hue of the vanilla seeds in the paste really adds to the appearance of the cheesecake)
  • 200 g berries (Plus a few extra for serving)

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C / 300 degrees F / gas mark 2. Grease and line a 20 cm springform tin and set aside.
  2. Place the shortbread biscuits into a large bowl. Take a rolling pin, and using the end of it, bash the biscuits up well until they resemble fine crumbs.
  3. Add the melted butter into the shortbread and mix through very well.
  4. Empty this mixture into the tin, and press it down carefully and evenly into the bottom of the dish, using the back of the spoon to smooth it out. Set the springform tin aside for now.
  5. In another bowl, sieve in the caster sugar together with the flour and mix through the cream cheese.
  6. Next, stir in the Glenisk crème fraîche, the eggs and the vanilla paste.
  7. Finally add in the berries and stir these through very gently, almost use a folding technique. Some of the bright berry colour may seep into the creamy colour of the cheese mixture, but this will just add a lovely aesthetic element to the cheesecake.
  8. Pour half of the mixture onto the biscuit base and spread it out. Then, add the rest of the mixture and even it out carefully to ensure the surface is nice and smooth. The back of a spoon, dipped into a cup of boiling water, is very helpful when evening the surface.
    Smooth and ready for some cookin'!
  9. Pop your cheesecake into the oven for 55 - 60 minutes. When it's ready, it should be almost the same creamy colour as prior to cooking, the edges should be just set, but it should still look wobbly in the centre. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside the oven until it is completely cooled. Then, transfer to the fridge for several hours. At this point, the cheesecake will have firmed up to the correct consistency.
  10. When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, use a palette knife and slide it around the tin to loosen the cheesecake away from the side. Open the tin to release the top from the bottom part. Lift up the top/side part of the tin carefully. Use the palette knife again to ease the cheesecake base away from the bottom of the tin.
  11. Your cheesecake is now ready to be displayed in all its glory, cut into slices and devoured!
  12. A nice little dollop of crème fraîche (as I used myself), or some cream or ice-cream on the side, a light dusting of icing sugar and a few more fresh berries will add that little something special when you serve up your cheesecake!

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