Statutory Warning : The contents of this post may cause extreme taste sensations and possibly result in weight gain! Proceed at your own risk. Also be warned that this is a rather long post and you may be tempted to dose off before you reach the end!!
I have been promising to make cheesecake for my daughter for the past month or so, but just never managed to get around to it. So guess who was the happiest when this month’s Daring baker challenge turned out to be cheesecake? As Akshaya remarked, ” If the DB challenge wasn’t cheesecake, who knows how much longer I would have had to wait for cheesecake!”
Yes, the April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. We had to use the provided recipe but were free to experiment with the crust, flavours for our cheesecakes, shapes and serving sizes and presentation. That’s a lot of leeway for individual creativity.
I have made cheesecake before, but they have been the no-bake kind which isn’t too difficult to make especially in an eggless version. This challenge required us to make a baked version which I had never done before. Now baked cheesecakes basically have a custard sort of filling, where the eggs are required as binders so I wasn’t sure I would be able to find a recipe that wasn’t vegan (I don’t get most vegan alternatives where I live) yet didn’t use eggs.
A detailed internet search threw up this “Eggless Cheesecake” recipe from I Cannot Believe It Has No Eggs Cheesecake from Bakin’ Without Eggs by Rosemarie Emro (St. Martin’s Press, 1999). I adapted this recipe to suit my requirements and made Cardamom Flavoured Rose Cheesecake Bars. I thought it would be unusual to use these very Indian flavours to make a non-Indian dessert.
We don’t get creamcheese here in India (as far as I know), so what I always use to make my cheesecakes is home-made paneer, a soft Indian fresh cheese made from cow’s milk. My recipes for making paneer and the cheesecake bars follow. The success of my first baked cheesecake made feel a bit adventurous and then this recipe and the accompanying picture made me decide to attempt making a Zebra-Stripe cheesecake. I decided to bake another cheesecake (2 days ago) using the given challenge recipe while substituting for the eggs as well.
Egg FreeChocolate And Vanilla Zebra-Stripe Cheesecake & Cardamom Flavoured Rose Cheesecake Bars : Daring Bakers Challenge – April 2009
For the Paneer :
- 2 milk L (4.5% fat)
- 4 tbsps vinegar plain
For the Crust :
- 100 gm digestive biscuits , finely crushed
- 1/4 cup almonds powdered
- 50 gm butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 cups paneer
- 3 tbsps firm tofu crumbled
- 1/4 cup condensed milk sweetened
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup yogurt plain
- 1 tsp cardamom powdered
- 2 tsps rose syrup
- 1 to 2 drops red food colouring
For the Crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbscrumbs
- 115 gm butter stick / , melted
- 2 tbsps sugar (I omitted this).
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cheesecake :
- 3 cream cheese sticks of (each 226 gm)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs (substituted with 6 tbsp of purxe9ed tofu + 4 tsp cornstarch)
- 1 cup heavy cream (I used 25% fat cream)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (I used 2 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
- To make the paneer, in a thick bottomed vessel, over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Add the vinegar and keep stirring the mixture. Lemon juice or yogurt can also be used for curdling the milk to make paneer. The milk will curdle and the milk solids will separate and float to the top in a thick cheesy layer. Keep stirring till all the solids have separated and only a cloudy whey is left below.
- Place a largish piece of cheesecloth (or similar cloth) in a colander/ sieve and pour the curdled mixture into it. When the whey has drained out, rinse the paneer (cheese) with water a couple of times and allow the water to drain out completely. Now gather the sides of the cloth together and twist the top and squeeze out as much water as you can from the paneer. Keep this as it is in the colander for about an hour.
- For the Cardamom Flavoured Rose Cheesecake Bars, melt the butter over low heat. Cool slightly, add the rest of the ingredients for the crust and mix well. I used a 8" by 8" square glass pie dish to make these bars.
- Grease a square piece of aluminium foil that will sit well in your pie dish. Carefully press the crumb mixture well, into the bottom of the pie dish.
- Now make the filling. Purxe9e the paneer and the crumbled tofu with 1 tbsp of water till smooth. Put this into a bowl along with the condensed milk, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, lemon juice and vanilla. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat this till smooth. Then add the yogurt and powdered cardamom and blend well.
- Divide the mixture into two portions. To one portion, add the rose syrup and food colouring and blend well. Now pour the rose cheesecake mixture into the other (white) portion and just fold in a couple of times so the mixture has a marbled appearance.
- Pour this into the prepared crust and gently smoothen the top. Bake the cheesecake (without a water bath) for about an hour at 150C. The cheesecake will look set with a slightly creamy centre. Cool completely at room temperature and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Then take the cheesecake out and slowly lift it out from the dish along with the foil. Peel off the foil and cut into 12 pieces/ bars. Serve chilled.
- For the Chocolate And Vanilla Zebra-Stripe Cheesecake, I used the Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake recipe as my base. You can find my notes in brackets threaded in the method below highlighted in bold.
- My substitutions to that recipe (given above) are as follows : I used Nice biscuit crumbs instead of Graham Cracker crumbs. Since they're sweet I omitted the sugar in the crust but added 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips instead. I substituted the cream cheese with 3 cups pureed home-made paneer made from 3L 4.5% fat milk. I used 6 tbsp of purxe9ed tofu + 4 tsp cornstarch instead of three eggs. I used 2 tbsp lime juice, omitted the liqueur and added 1 cup milk chocolate pieces.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
- 2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside. (My cake tin has a removable bottom so I lined my cake tin with greased aluminium foil before layering the crust.)
- 3. Combine cream cheese (I used purxe9ed paneer) and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs (I substituted purxe9ed tofu and cornstarch) , one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
- (At this point I divided the filling into two portions. I melted the chocolate over hot water and added it to one portion and blended it well. Then I poured half of the plain (white) filling into the prepared crust and spread it to cover the bottom. Then I poured half the chocolate filling in the middle spreading it, leaving an outer 1/4" of white filling. Then I poured the remaining white filling, again leaving 1/4" of the chocolate filling and finished with the chocolate filling, once again leaving a 1/4 " of the white filling showing. Check the original cheesecake for a better idea.)
- 4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water. (I wrapped the bottom and sides of my cake tin with a single sheet of aluminium foil before placing it in the water bath. I had no problems of water getting to my cheesecake and my cheesecake stayed dry.)
- 5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
- Pan Notes : The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
- Prep notes : While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!