I’ve had a weak­ness for cheese­cake since my first visit to Amer­ica as a lit­tle girl. Over time, I’ve made my recipe a bit lighter, cut­ting the cream cheese with mas­car­pone and yo­ghurt. The first time my hus­band René and I went to New York we vis­ited a diner for cheese­cake, and he said mine was bet­ter! SERVES 8 CRUST 90g di­ges­tive bis­cuits 40g sugar (I use or­ganic gran­u­lated cane sugar) 55g salted but­ter, melted FILL­ING 340g cream cheese, at room tem­per­a­ture 120g plain Greek yo­ghurt 110ml mas­car­pone, at room tem­per­a­ture 2 large eggs, at room tem­per­a­ture 15g salted but­ter, melted ½ vanilla pod ⅛ tea­spoon fine sea salt 1 Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. 2 Make the crust: crum­ble the bis­cuits into a medium bowl. Use a pes­tle or the bot­tom of a heavy bot­tle to crush them into fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Pour the melted but­ter over the mix­ture and stir un­til very well com­bined. (Or grind the crum­bled bis­cuits and mix them with the sugar and but­ter in a food pro­ces­sor, if you pre­fer.) Press the crumb mix­ture firmly and evenly into the bot­tom of a 23cm spring­form tin. Bake un­til the crust looks a lit­tle darker and smells sweet and toasty, 10 to 12 min­utes. 3 While the crust bakes, make the fill­ing. Com­bine the cream cheese with the yo­ghurt and mas­car­pone in a large bowl. Beat with an elec­tric mixer on medium speed un­til smooth, scrap­ing down the sides of the bowl as needed. One at a time, beat in the eggs, fol­lowed by the melted but­ter. With a small, sharp knife, split the vanilla pod length­wise and use the tip of the knife to scrape the seeds into the bowl, sav­ing the pod for another use. Add the salt and mix just un­til smooth. Do not over­beat the fill­ing. (Tip: for a smooth fill­ing, the cream cheese and mas­car­pone must be at room tem­per­a­ture; set them on the work sur­face for an hour or two be­fore you start cook­ing.) 4 Pour the fill­ing on to the hot crust and smooth the top. Tap the tin on the work sur­face a few times to re­lease any air bub­bles in the fill­ing. Bake un­til the fill­ing is nearly set in the cen­tre, about 25 min­utes. Move the cheese­cake to a wire rack to cool com­pletely. The fill­ing will con­tinue to cook even after you take it out of the oven, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem com­pletely set. You don’t want to let it get brown. 5 When the cheese­cake has cooled, cover the tin with cling­film and re­frig­er­ate un­til very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve, run a sharp knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cheese­cake and then re­move the sides. Cut the cake into wedges with a thin, sharp knife. Dip the blade of your knife in cold wa­ter and wipe it clean be­tween cuts to keep the slices neat.

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