Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Easy Baked Raspberry Cheesecake

Last week I baked my first ever cheesecake. Being an idle sort, I was searching around for the easiest recipe when I found this gem online via Olive Magazine. Forget all the fussy water baths or food processors required by most cheesecake recipes, this one is remarkably simple. And what it loses in culinary fuss it makes up for in taste. It is just exquisite. Who knew that delicious cheesecakes could be so easy to bake! Well maybe you did, but I'm a little slow with these things and my eyes have finally been opened. This will be the first of many cheesecakes to come.

From Olive Magazine July 2005, listed at BBC Good Food Online. See the recipe here. 
Serves 8

8 or 9 digestive biscuits
600g mascarpone cheese or other cream cheese
50g butter, at room temperature
175g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
half a teaspoon vanilla extract
300g raspberries
142 ml sour cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar

1. Turn the oven to 180C (160C fan) and get out a 20cm cake tin.

2. Crush the biscuits by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and attacking them with a rolling pin (this is very enjoyable, a good way of getting rid of any grievances of the day).

3. Either melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat, or do what I did and forget to melt it. Mix the crushed ground biscuits with the butter. Because I forgot to melt it I just cut the butter up very small and then combined it with the biccies with my clean hands. But the melted butter option is probably a quicker way to combine the two.

4. Press the biscuit butter mixture into the cake tin, making sure it covers the bottom evenly. Cook in the oven for 5 minutes, then take out and leave to cool.

5. In a large bowl mix the flour, caster sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla extract, eggs and egg yolk. Beat until fluffy.

6. Add half the raspberries (150g), stirring them gently into the batter.

7. Pour the batter into the tin, making sure it covers all the biscuit base, and smooth down the top.

8. Bake for approx 40 minutes. You'll know it's done when the cheesecake is set but still a bit wobbly in the middle. Leave the cake in the tin to cool. Ideally, once the cheesecake is cool, you can put it in the fridge to help it set overnight, before adding the topping the next day when ready to serve.

9. However if you want to serve the cake on the same day, then you can get straight on with the topping. Put a large handful of the leftover raspberries to one side for later. When the cake is cool, put all the rest of the berries in a pan with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar, and heat them gently for approx 5 minutes until they're giving out their lovely pink juice. Squash them with a fork and then push them through a sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all the juices.

10. When the cheesecake is ready to serve, pour the raspberry sauce over the cake and top it with the handful of raspberries. If the cake has been in the fridge overnight, just take it out and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before adding the sauce and raspberry topping when ready to serve.

This cheesecake was idly baked to the sounds (and sights) of Sam Peckinpah's classic western Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid