I love cheesecakes and I try making them even when I’m totally broke. They come in three varieties: set (using a jelling agent), fresh and baked. So here are my results for ‘economy cheesecakes’…
The most basic cheesecake
Any type of biscuit, whatever you have really
(Butter or other solid fat)
Optional: tinned peaches (or other tinned or fresh fruit)
Base: Crush biscuits, melt butter (if using chocolate or toffee chocolate digestives, you might not need the butter, just heat the biscuit crumbs until the warm chocolate sticks them together). Mix and flatten out at the bottom of any flat-ish dish.
If having a fruit layer: lay out the fruit on the flattened biscuit base.
Filling: Heat the jelly cubes or dissolve jelly powder in a tiny bit of water. Add the recommended of sugar or sweeten to taste. Stir into the yoghurt and pour over the base and the peaches (or other fruit).
If you desire a fancy look for this cake, save a bit of dissolved jelly and sprinkle it over the filling in fast streaks, thus creating a marbled finish.
Put cake into the refrigerator for a few hours until firm.
The best results have so far been achieved with the following combination:
Chocolate digestives/butter, tinned peaches, low fat yoghurt with German woodruff (Waldmeister) jelly powder and sugar. At least it has passed my German pastry-chef uncle test 😉
Biscuit base (biscuits, butter)
Fruit, toffee or other stuff (optional)
Stuff that’s suitable as a topping – you’ll need something fluffy-creamy (double or whipping cream) and something sticky-creamy, preferably a bit tangy (e.g. Greek yoghurt, cream cheese, full fat quark or mascarpone).
Sugar or some kind of sweet syrup
Lemon juice (or whatever flavour cake you are making)
Base: (see above)
Filling: Mix whipped fluffy-creamy and sticky-tangy creamy stuff together until they make up the desired texture. Add sugary stuff and other ingredients to taste (and look).
Topping: Anything you can get your hands on and that fits the cake theme!
Baked Cheesecakes are popular on the continent where they tend to be made from ‘quark’ or ‘fromage frais’ mixed with cream, sugar, starch eggs and sometimes semolina. They come as ‘tin cakes’ or ‘sheet cakes’. Most recipes require quite a lot of ingredients. My favourite one is cheesecake in crumbled chocolate crust. I normally don’t have the money for the ingredients, so I just make it for very special occasions. Here is the recipe:
300 g plain flour
25 g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
125 g sugar
Vanilla sugar or vanilla aroma
200g soft butter
Knead all above ingredients to a shortcrust pastry. Push 1/3 of the dough flat on the bottom of a large cake tin (about 28 cm), and 1/3 against the rim of the cake tin. No pre-baking of the crust is necessary, but you can do if you want to.
750 g quark/fromage frais (you can also try full fat or fat free greek yoghurt)
250 whipped cream
3 whipped egg whites
3 egg yolk
150 g sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
50 g corn flour
and pour the creamy filling into the cake tin. Crumble the remaining third of the chocolate dough over the filling and bake everything at about 170 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 3 for 70-80 mins. Leave to cool slowly in the oven.
My mother once sent me another base recipe which uses less ingredients, but those ingredients are still quite pricy. Anyway, you can use it as a base for experimentation and it goes as follows:
Butter the bottom of a cake tin. Sprinkle with 4 tbsp breadcrumbs.
250 g butter
6 egg yolks (retain a little for the glazing)
6 whipped egg whites
1 kg quark/fromage frais
Juice from 1 lemon
Optional: raisins, apple pieces or other fruit
And pour into the tin.
Mix milk or carnation/condensed milk with a bit of left-over egg yolk and brush lightly over the surface of the cake. Bake for 70-80 mins at 140 degrees Celsius.