Cheesecake number 2: Spanish version, using cuajada.
Cuajada is a creamy dessert typical from the North of Spain, made of milk coagulated using “cuajo”. Cuajo contains peptidases, that is, proteins that break other proteins :). These peptidases break a protein in the milk, the “casein”, and this causes the milk to go from liquid to a gel-like consistency. This is because the casein swims in the milk forming “micelles”: the casein molecules arrange themselves nice and cosy, hiding away from the water the parts of the protein that hate water, and that makes them soluble. By chopping the casein molecules, the peptidases alter this micelle structure making it go solid (micelles cluster and “precipitate”). This is also the procedure to make cheese out of milk: acidification or proteases disrupt the casein micelle structure causing milk to “curdle”.
Cuajada can be bought as a powder that contains cuajo, starch, fructose, sugar, and some E additives. This gives the cheesecake a very nice and characteristic milky taste.
Ingredients for a 23-cm diameter springform:
- 210 g digestive biscuites
- 150 g butter
- 500 g whipping cream
- 100 g sugar
- 400 g cream cheese
- 250 ml milk
- 24 g cuajada powder
- a pinch of NaCl
- 150 g raspberry jam
Crumble the cookies by placing them in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin (or use a food processor). Mix with the melted butter and use to cover the bottom of the springform, use the bottom of a glass to press down. Place in the fridge.
Dissolve the cuajada in the milk (start by adding a very little amount of milk, and slowly add more, or it won’t dissolve).
Heat up, stirring, the cream, sugar, cheese, and salt in a pot until it starts boiling. Add the cuajada-milk mixture and return to the heat until it starts boiling again, then remove from heat. Let cool down a bit, but keep stirring.
Place the warm mixture on the springform (break the flow by placing a spoon in the middle to avoid disrupting the base). Bring back to the fridge for 4 hours or best overnight.
Add the jam on top before releasing the cake from the springform.