Baked Cheesecake

A traditional treat, taking cheesecake back to it’s classic shortcrust base and cheese curd filling, recipe from the veritable encyclopaedia that is The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden.

This cheesecake is a bit of a beast and supposedly serves 10-12 people, though we had no problem polishing it off between 4 in a rather short space of time..

You will need:

For the pastry base:

200g flour

pinch of salt

75g sugar

100g unsalted butter

1 medium egg lightly beaten

Mix flour, salt and sugar together then rub in the cubed butter with your hands. Mix in the egg and work into a soft dough, adding flour if you need to. Wrap in clingfilm and leave for 30 minutes (forgot the clingfilm, oops!)

Awkward confession time: I don’t own an appropriately sized baking tin or flan mould (or in fact any shape or size of cake tin-perhaps time to invest!) so the dough was rolled slightly freestyle onto some foil. For those of you who do things properly a 26cm/10.5 inch tin is suggested. It’s not an easy to roll base so pressing it into the tin is easier, like most shortcrust.

Bake your base blind at 180C /350F for half an hour and leave to cool whilst you make the filling.

You will need:

500g curd cheese (I used quark)

150ml fromage frais or sour cream

5 eggs, separated

175g  caster sugar

zest of 1 lemon (not overpowering in this context!)

juice of half a lemon

vanilla essence

Mix everything together except the egg whites ( my yolks look super bright because they were omega-3-heavy special eggs- arguably making this one healthy cheesecake.. they did also make it a little more yellow than I would have liked, win some, lose some).

Mix it all up until it is smooth.

Beat the egg whites into stiff snowy peaks and fold them into the cheese mixture.

After you fold in the egg whites you can also add some rum soaked raisins.

Your pastry shell should have cooled by now-wait a bit if it hasn’t because otherwise it will break when you add the filling. Which is the next step..

Straight into my makeshift tin.. Bake in a preheated oven at 150C/300F for 1.5 hours-says Claudia, however mine was done after around 45 minutes, so keep an eye on it, all ovens behave a little differently.

Let the cheesecake cool slowly in the oven with the door open (so it doesn’t sink, I think!)

And enjoy!  It’s nice when warm but even better when fully cooled and slightly chilled.

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