who doesn't like cheesecake?
Ooh, this is going to be fun because I rarely follow a recipe the way it's written down.
Anyway, the recipe I used is from a German cooking magazine and they called it "Amerikanischer Cheese-Cake" (American cheesecake). Way to mangle both languages at the same time, eh? Using cream cheese in cheescakes is becoming more popular here, however the regular German cheesecake, Käsekuchen, usually uses Quark, a type of fresh unripened cheese similar to cream cheese but with a lighter consistency and lower fat content. But I digress. This cheesecake was made with good old Philadelphia cream cheese.
For those of you living in Europe and using metric measurement, I'll give you the recipe the way it was printed, then explain some of the ingredients and then give some variations for people in N. America
125 g Zwieback
40 g butter, melted
grated rind of one organic lemon
600g cream cheese
150g sour cream
1 Tbsp flour
My addition: 4 cans (the small size) mandarin oranges in light syrup, divided (2 for cake, 2 for topping)
1 package Tortenguss
Reduce the Zwieback to crumbs by either whirling it in the food processor or putting it into a freezer bag and whacking it with a blunt instrument - rolling pin or hammer will do. Line the bottom of a 26cm (10 inch?) springform pan with parchment paper. Melt butter, mix together with crumbs and pat mixture into bottom of pan. Put in fridge to chill.
Combine lemon rind, cream cheese and sour cream. Add sugar and mix with electric mixer until sugar dissolves. Blend in eggs and flour. Drain 2 cans of mandarin orange sections (reserve juice for later) and stir into mixture.
Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared pan and bake in preheated 175°C (not quite 350°F) oven for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 150°C (300°F) and bake for 40 minutes more. Turn off heat and let cake rest a further 15 minutes in oven. Remove from oven, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake and let cool. Chill in fridge until cold.
OK, so that's the basic recipe. Zwieback are rusks, those small, crunchy twice-baked toast thingies. We don't have graham crackers in Germany so we have to improvise. I've seen some recipes that use Zwieback and other that use crisp ladyfingers or another type of neutral tasting cookie (biscuit) or cracker with perhaps a bitter of sugar added along with the melted butter. If you can get graham cracker crumbs, use 1 1/2 cups mixed with 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter for the crust.
Cream cheese comes in 200g packages here, whereas in the U.S. the packages are 250g or 8 oz. 100g of sugar is about 1/2 cup. I found that this cake could have used a bit more sugar.
Actually, if you're in the U.S., rather than fiddling around with the above recipe, I would use the standard Philadelphia cheesecake recipe, leaving out the sour cream and adding the orange sections.
So that would be:
Philadelphia 3-step cheesecake
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp sugar
3 8 oz. (250g) packages cream cheese
3/4 c sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
(Plus the 4 cans mandarin oranges I mentioned above).
Mix crumbs and butter, press into bottom of springform pan and bake at 325°F for 10 mins.
Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and mix just until blended. (Add drained orange sections at this point). Pour over crust in prepared pan. Bake at 325°F (160°C) for 50 to 55 mins. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
If you don't have a springform pan, I think you could make this in a 9-inch pie pan using 2 packages of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 eggs and only 1 can of mandarin oranges. Of course you can also use a prepared graham cracker crust if you can get one.
Are you confused yet? I know I am.
Let's move on to the final step - the fruit topping.
After the cake had been chilled for a while, I arranged the remaining two cans of drained orange sections in an artistic pattern over the top. Then I put a glaze on it. We have this stuff here called Tortenguss - it's a powder consisting of starch and gelatin that you mix with sugar and water or fruit juice (in this case about 1 cup of reserved juice from the oranges), bring to a boil and cook until thickened. It comes in two colours - red and clear. After it has cooled for a minute, you spoon it over the fruit on your cake. It gels at room temperature and the cake can be cut after about 2o mins. I have no idea if it's available elsewhere. If you can't get it, you'd just have to improvise by thickening the orange juice with cornstarch, as you would for pie filling, and then pouring it over the cake.
Amazing how something so easy can be so complicated, isn't it? Sorry if this is a bit garbled. If you have any questions, fire away.