Make cheesecake bases from either biscuit crumbs or pastry. The most important thing to remember with either is that they must never be thick and stodgy. I prefer the crunchiness of the biscuit base — it is also the easiest to make and can be varied according to the kind of biscuits you use: digestive, chocolate digestive or ginger biscuits, or a mixture of digestive biscuits and finely chopped walnuts are all good. Always use a loose-bottomed or springform tin.
For uncooked cheesecakes, bake biscuit bases blind for 10 minutes at 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4, then cool on a wire rack before filling. Otherwise, chill the biscuit base until firm before filling and baking.
Pastry is the traditional base for continental-style cheesecakes and can also be used with the cooked American-style cheesecake. Use either sweet shortcrust pastry or sweet hot butter crust pastry which is more biscuit like than many pastries. Chill the pastry before using.
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