Ok, here it goes: one, two, three… I never made a cheesecake before. There, I said it.
It’s not really my cup of tea, so I never felt the need. However, a couple of days ago my photographer requested it, recipe in hand, and it’s not like you can say no to your photographer, can you? So that’s how I found myself in this situation.
What to say about cheesecake? It seems to be a whole science on its own. 79 million entries for that simple word, and around 2000 books on Amazon dedicated to it. And I wonder, how something so (theoretically) simple can become the topic of so much discussion? I guess it´s the magic of good, as someone who I can´t remember now and probably not with these words said: there is no greater pleasure than the inconvenience of having to stop everything you’re doing, several times a day, just in order to eat. Or snack on cake, that’s even better.
The recipe I was provided with was, in theory, no brainer:
For the biscuit base
- 85 g butter
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 140 g digestive biscuits, crushed
Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over gentle heat and mix in a bowl with the crushed biscuits.
Line a 23 cm tin with greaseproof paper, spoon the mixture into it and press it down to form a tight packed base. Keep in the fridge while making the filling.
For the filling
- 475 g cream cheese
- 160 g caster sugar
- zest of 1 lemon, grated
- 160 ml soured cream
- 160 ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the cream cheese to soften it, then mix with half the sugar and the lemon zest. Mix soured cream, double cream, other half of the sugar and vanilla and whisk until firm peaks are formed. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the cream mix and pour it onto the biscuit base. Keep in the fridge overnight.
On the way I encountered, to my bewilderment, a maze of disturbances that would seem trivial for someone who was into the “bake” itself and on full power. For reasons that are not cheesecake related, and therefore I won’t bother you with, I just wasn’t. It was one of the worst nightmarish cake-making episodes of my baking career. Shameful. Double and soured cream splashing all over, spoons falling on the floor, double and soured cream transforming into double and soured butter… Finally I got my photographer to put up the cream, although not as stiff as the recipe demanded, we folded, transferred into the tin and let cool overnight in the fridge. I dreamed all night about cheesecake milkshake all over the table after lifting the tin, and about contingency plans over the sink… But there was no need! Go figure! It did set, although just. I got an uneven cake surface (which could have been hidden under some jam, but I decided to use the lovely chocolate pieces that my photographer’s sister got for me, they are so cute :)), uneven biscuit base, and runny filling. Being overindulgent with myself, it could withstand some improvement…
But in spite of everything and to be fair, it tasted good… Somehow, this little team effort disaster made me approach the whole concept with new eyes. I might even repeat. What about white chocolate cheesecake? New York cheesecake? There are 79 millions of options, apparently… Any suggestions?