Baked New York-style cheesecake

Preparation info

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Real cheesecake has virtually disappeared from Britain, although to be truthful it was only here as an exotic import in two guises: firstly as a Jewish speciality from middle Europe and, in sub Sara Lee quality, as an adjunct to the great hamburger invasion of the early 1970s. Some of Soho’s Jewish cafés and restaurants did serve a decent home-made cheesecake often as a once-a-week-only special. However, by the mid-1970s, these had all but gone, replaced by really nasty, mass-produced horrors.


  • 300 g ricotta cheese (must be very fresh)
  • 200 g mascarpone cheese
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 250 ml double cream or, better still, crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 50 g butter
  • 6 amaretti biscuits
  • 6 digestive biscuits


Mix the ricotta, mascarpone, lemon juice, cream, eggs and sugar by hand until smooth. Leave for an hour and then stir. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.

Melt the butter and lightly brush a 25 cm springform cake tin with some of it. Grind both sorts of biscuits together in a food processor until you obtain a coarsely crumbed texture. Add the remaining melted butter and work briefly. Spread this mixture across the base of the cake tin, pressing lightly to make it adhere.

Place the prepared cake tin on the pulled-out oven shelf, and pour in the filling mixture. Bake for an hour, then turn the oven off. Leave the cake undisturbed and the oven unopened for an hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

The cake must not be unmoulded and served until it has firmed up; this happens as it cools, and you should allow at least 4 hours before attempting to cut a slice. I prefer this cake when it has never been in the fridge, but it is perfectly kosher to chill it. Indeed some authorities claim it tastes better if kept cool for a day or two before serving.