Sunday, 13 January 2008

Vanilla cheesecake with raspberry sauce.

Indiana Jones’s goal in life was to find the Covenant of the Ark (and then some other stuff that justified the sequels). Outcome: successful.
The Tin Man joined Dorothy in her quest because he wanted a heart (which frankly is just going to make me sound petty in comparison). Outcome: successful
My aim is to find the perfect cheesecake. Outcome: almost there.

My Perfect Cheesecake (MPC) would be beautiful, smooth, dense textured but still light. Over the years I have tried many cheesecake recipes and they’ve never quite matched up to MPC that dwells in my brain and torments me in its elusiveness.

So this is my latest attempt:

It was absolutely lovely – I wouldn’t say it was MPC but it was pretty darned close; certainly closer than I’ve ever been before. Using ricotta rather than cream cheese definitely gives both a better flavour and texture. The biscuit base was very pleasing too as it held together well but was delicious and crumbly in the eating.

Where I goofed on this one was the topping. The recipe had a topping I didn’t care for so I decided to use raspberries. However, as soon as I started to heat the raspberries in some sugared water they all collapsed scuppering my intention to cover the top with beautifully poached whole raspberries covered in thick sauce.

Here they are, innocent before they did the dirty on me and all collapsed into mush:

I also used too many raspberries and ended up with a topping that swamped the cheesecake underneath. What I would do if I made this again is use 500g of raspberries (the photo above shows 750g – what was I thinking??) Firstly I would use enough whole raspberries from this amount to sit on top of the cheesecake. I would then poach the remainder in water and sugar and pour this sauce firstly, through a strainer and then over the raspberries. If I’d done that this time, I may well have been writing about MPC.

One curious thought that hit me when I was dissolving the gelatine was that it looked like I was melting a breast implant. See for yourself:

For the base:
5og unsalted butter
160g digestive biscuits

For the filling:
350g ricotta
11g sachet of gelatine powder
2 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract (I put in more as I’m a vanilla freak)
275ml double cream

For the topping:
500g raspberries
Sugar, to taste

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Grease an 18cm round tin.
- For the base, melt the butter in a saucepan. While it is melting, crush the biscuits into crumbs. I like to do this by putting the biscuits in a freezer bag, securing the end and then bashing them with my rolling pin.
- Add the crumbs to the melted butter and ensure that you mix well.
- Press the crumbs into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the base is browned.
- Leave to cool.
- Put 4 tablespoons of cold water into a dish and sprinkle the gelatine powder on top. Leave for 5 minutes.
- In a saucepan heat some water until it is gently simmering. Sit the bowl of water and gelatine on top and leave until the gelatine water has turned clear i.e. all the gelatine has dissolved. This took about 5-10 minutes. Put to one side.
- Beat the ricotta, egg yolks and sugar until blended.
- Add the vanilla and gelatine and continue to beat until the mix is smooth and well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it is at the soft peak stage, then add to the ricotta mix and beat until combined.
- Tip the mix onto the base, cover with foil and chill for at least 3 hours.
- Sit whole raspberries on top of the cheesecake.
- Put two tablespoons of water into a pan and melt a tablespoon of caster sugar into it. When it has dissolved, add the remaining raspberries.
- When the raspberries have collapsed, sweeten the sauce to taste. When it is sweet enough let it come to the boil and bubble away until it reduces in volume by about half and is thick. Strain into a jug and allow to cool.
- You may find as it cools, a skin forms. Remove this and then pour the sauce over the raspberries.
- Cover with clingfilm and return to the fridge until ready to serve.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


glamah16 said...

Your hysterical!Breast implants. Regardless of the respberry mush it looks so good. Im sure the sauce was great.My mother was always in search of the perfect cheesecake. Got to try a lot cheese cake in the process.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

It looked perfect but the thought of eating a breast implant could be slightly off putting... to me atleast.

When you find the pefect cheesecake my husband will be a very happy man. Only if you let us all know the recipe that is.

Anonymous said...

I was intrigued by the idea of the ricotta until I got to the gelatine part, breast implants apart, I can't bring myself to use it. The whole things looks gorgeous though, much lighter than the norm. Well done Caked Crusader!!

Fiona said...

Imagine Homer Simpson drooling over doughnuts. That's me with this cake. Can you post me a slice!!!

Deborah said...

This is the second cheesecake I've seen today - it looks amazing!

Jen said...

Looks delicious, can you have too many raspberries! Can't wait to give it a try.