Great Australian Bake Off winner Claudia Anton’s family favourite.
THIS CHEESECAKE RECIPE is very special for me. It’s been in my family since I was a child, baked over and again for family gatherings and celebrations – it is quite a German tradition (Anton’s mum is German). My aunts and my omi each had their own version where there would be a subtle difference in taste or texture, but my mother’s was always the best – a creamy, lemony, perfect delight.
I have fond memories of my mother baking it and teaching me how to make it so that it was just right. I would watch her spread the egg yolk over the top of the cake until it was a perfect yellow dome, and loved the chance to do this myself. She used a special brand of quark that wasn’t always easy to get hold of – I’m sure the local supermarket in country Victoria supplied it because of her patronage.
I now have my own version of this baked cheesecake to teach my daughter. It’s a little different, with homemade vanilla custard and a crisper base. I’ve jazzed up the recipe a little by adding seasonal citrus flavours and topping it with ripe figs, mandarin segments and a tart citrus glaze. These fruits together are jewel-like and fresh, and figs are always so sumptuous, sexy and gorgeous.
GERMAN FIG CHEESECAKE SERVES 6-8
100g unsalted butter, softened 310g caster sugar 150g plain flour 520ml milk 1 tsp vanilla bean paste 4 eggs, separated, plus extra egg yolk 80g cornflour, sifted 1kg quark, at room temperature Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 11/ 2 mandarins, plus juice of 1/2 a mandarin 1/3 cup (80ml) runny honey Figs and freeze-dried mandarins (optional), to serve
To make the base, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 60g sugar until well combined. Beat in flour to form a dough. Flatten into a disc, enclose in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease base and sides of a 22cm springform cake pan and line with baking paper. On a floured surface, roll dough to fit base of prepared pan. Line base, trim excess and chill for 15 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes or until just golden, then cool. Reduce oven to 160°C.
Place 500ml milk, 200g sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over high heat and bring to just below the boil. Whisk yolks, cornflour and remaining 50g sugar until pale and thick. Gradually whisk milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return to saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until boiling. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill.
Whisk quark, lemon zest, zest from 1 mandarin and half extra egg yolk until combined. Add custard and whisk until combined. Whisk eggwhites to soft peaks and fold into custard. Pour over base. Combine remaining half extra egg yolk with remaining 20ml milk and brush over cheesecake. Bake for 2 hours or until just set. Set aside to cool, then chill for 4 hours or until set. Remove from pan.
Combine mandarin juice, honey and remaining mandarin zest in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a simmer.
Top cheesecake with figs and dried mandarins, if using, and drizzle with the mandarin honey to serve.