Cooked Cheesecake

Method

There are two basic kinds of cooked cheesecake: the continental style and, my favourite, the American cooked type. To serve 6-8 use a 23 cm (9 in) springform cake tin with either a biscuit or pastry base which should be well chilled before filling.

You can use any kind of soft white cheese to make both kinds: the flavour will not be quite as rich and creamy with the low-fat cheeses but still very pleasant. Cottage cheese should be sieved before using. Quark, a low-fat skimmed mild soft cheese, also works well. Medium-fat Ricotta cheese is another traditional cheesecake ingredient. If you want to make a continental-style cheesecake, use the same amounts of curd cheese, sugar and eggs as below but omit the cream and fold in a handful of sultanas, then bake as below.

After baking, remove from the oven but leave the cake in the tin until completely cool, then using a knife to loosen the edges gently remove the base and sides. Dust the top with icing sugar just before serving. The higher you hold the sieve above the cheesecake the more delicate the layer of sugar.

  1. In a large bowl beat together 250 g (8 oz) each of cream cheese, curd cheese and caster sugar until soft and well combined, then whisk in 150 ml (¼ pint) double cream and 4 beaten egg yolks thoroughly, a little at a time.

  2. Whisk 2 egg whites with ½ teaspoon salt until they stand in soft peaks, then fold into the cheese and egg mixture gently but thoroughly. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared tin, here a biscuit base.

  3. Bake in a preheated oven, 160°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3 for about 1 hour until just firm, the top is golden and a skewer or tip of a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 30 minutes. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack, then carefully release the sides of the tin and transfer to a serving plate.