How to make a Cheesecake, Lemon Curd and Pistachio both extra delicious flavours for a cheesecake
Years ago I ran a catering business with a friend of mine. As well as whipping up cocktail parties and dinners in peoples kitchens all over town we supplemented our business making cakes and other baked goods for restaurants and cafes. One of our most popular cakes was a banana cheesecake with a sour cream frosting. It was so popular each week the orders continued to grow and we had to buy a large commercial oven. The cheesecakes were crammed in to the oven in increasing numbers and during this time we started to notice some problems. Our cheesecakes seemed to be developing unwelcome splits that could not be disguised with sour cream frosting . In fact there was no disguising the fact that they started to look like the Swiss Alps covered in snow. We rang the guru of baking in Sydney Lorraine Godsmark of Lorraine’s patisserie who had already perfected her cheesecake and she was kind enough to give is some advice. This is what I have discovered over the years when baking cheesecakes.
Because of the number of cheesecakes that we made it wasn’t possible to use a water bath. This is a very common way to even out the temperature when cooking a cheesecake. I don’t commonly use this method, my oven is extremely cool. If you want to bake using this method then see here.
First dont be afraid to make a cheesecake. This is how to make a cheesecake you will love
- Cook cheesecakes at a very low temperature. 150-160 deg C or 300-325 deg F
- Do not over bake. The middle of the cheesecake will have a nice wobble in the centre when you take it out of the oven
- Bake your crumb base before adding the filling. Then cool. The base has lots more texture and crunchiness once baked first. Make sure the crumbs have a touch of sugar and are not too dry. It needs to cook into a lovely firm base
- Soften the cream cheese before using
- I always make my batter in a food processor . This makes the batter very smooth and shiny without beating in large volumes of air. The batter should be lump free and silky. Beat the cheese and sugar, flavourings and liquids then add the eggs when the cheese is mostly mixed.
- Cool (refrigerate) the cheesecake completely and for at least 4-6 hours or overnight before taking it out of the springform pan.
- Always run a warm knife around the diameter before opening the sides of the springform off.
- Smooth around the out side with a clean flat bladed warm knife to get rid of the outside of dents and rough bits.
Lemon Curd Cheesecake
- 100 gm biscuits marie or granita or something plain
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 75 gm butter melted
- 500 gm cream cheese
- 2 whole eggs or 3 smaller ones
- 3 tablespoons lemon Juice
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar
- 375 ml thickened cream or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 ml lemons Zest (juice of 2)
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 100 gm butter cubed chopped
- 4 whole egg yolks beaten
- Set the oven to 180 C to bake your crumb base. Once finished cool the base and reduce the temperature to 150. (325F). Use a 6-7 inch (18cm) cake tin this looks quite small but the finished cake goes a long way. Mine is deep 3 inches ( 8 cm ). You could use a larger shallower tin if you like. Line the base with a round of baking paper.
- Put the softened cream cheese into the food processor with the lemon juice, vanilla, sugar and process till broken down. Add the cream and eggs and beat till smooth and there are no lumps. The mixture should look silky smooth.
- Pour the batter into the tin on top of the crumbs. Put onto the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Test by giving the tin a little shake. The middle should be wobbly not liquid. If you feel it is too liquid cook for an extra 10 - 15 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and cool. Refrigerate till completely cold, preferably overnight.
- To make the lemon curd: Put a pot onto the stove and bring to a low simmer. Put the juice, sugar, eggs, zest & chilled butter into a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl over the heat and beat with a whisk. The curd will start to thicken and look glossy. Be careful it doesn't get too hot, because the eggs can scramble always keep it under boiling point.. It will finish thickening as it cools. Cool till only just warm then pour onto the middle of the cheesecake spreading to the sides with a palette knife.
You can buy Pistachio Paste on line at www.lario.com.au.