Tuesday, March 07, 2006

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

Amerikanischer Cheese-Cake

125 g Zwieback
40 g butter, melted
grated rind of one organic lemon
600g cream cheese
150g sour cream
100g sugar
4 eggs
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
3 eggs
(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.


At March 07, 2006 11:18 a.m., Blogger Calamity Tat said...

That cheesecake looks yummy but it is the longest recipe in the world, I neither have the will or skill, i'll just imagine eating a slice of yours, what a great Mum you are, that party spread looks great.. My bert is 10 saturday and has asked for a lemon curd cake :-)

At March 07, 2006 11:37 a.m., Blogger woman wandering said...

Thank you :)

At March 07, 2006 11:44 a.m., Anonymous Belinda said...

Christina, a GREAT substitution for Grahams are the Speculatius cookies. I used them for my cheesecake and honestly they taste so similar I almost didn't notice the difference.

Thanks for making me hungry.....AGAIN! lol

At March 07, 2006 11:51 a.m., Blogger christina said...

Tat - You are the Queen of Lemon Curd. Yum! The recipe isn't that long - you could make it with one hand tied behind your back, I'm sure. And our little guy will also be 1O on Saturday! :-)

wandering woman - you must eat at least half of it yourself to get the full effect.

Belinda - You're right - I never thought about using Spekulatius - thanks for the tip!

At March 07, 2006 12:22 p.m., Blogger Antipodeesse said...

Arrowroot powder dissolved in fruit juice also makes a fantastic glaze for tarts. You only have to go to New Zealand to get it!

And in France I highly recommend Bastogne biscuits for the crust.... mmmm.... spicy little buggers!

At March 07, 2006 12:49 p.m., Anonymous wendi said...

yikes thata all just too much work ;)

At March 07, 2006 1:08 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I agree with anyone and everyone who'll just bask in YOUR ability to pull this off. Just go at it, again and again, while we salivate!

At March 07, 2006 2:32 p.m., Blogger mar said...

I have a weakness for Käsekuchen...Since the Lidl chain arrived in Spain I can get Quark but there is no sour cream available here at all. Well, maybe in special shops downtown, but I go to regular supermarkets. The thing is, no one at home loves this cake as much as I do and I end up eating the whole thing almost by myself *sigh*.

At March 07, 2006 3:02 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Antipo - Yes, arrowroot would be good too. I think it's available in Asian markets.

Ginnie - Thanks, but most of the stuff I make is very easy.

Mar - I know what you mean. The same with me and pumpkin pie. No one else will eat it so I end up getting the whole thing. The German cheescake recipes I have just use quark, eggs and vanilla pudding mix with no sour cream at all. Let me know if I should send you one. The cooking magazines here are full of them.

At March 07, 2006 4:28 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Yum! Sounds like something I really need to try! Thanks for putting in so much effort!

At March 07, 2006 11:51 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

Spekulatius for crust makings! Brilliant! I've avoided making things with graham cracker crusts since I didn't know what to use instead.

At March 08, 2006 12:05 a.m., Blogger lily b said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'll give it a try and let you know how it turns out.

Lemon curd is yummy. I made a recipe once that was something like lemon curd and sour cream over angel food cake, topped with blueberries. It was wonderful!

At March 08, 2006 7:30 a.m., Blogger Andrea said...

I am really hungry now!!!

At March 08, 2006 10:06 a.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

"If you have any questions, fire away."

So: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if y wooodchuck could chuck wood?? *LOL*

At March 08, 2006 11:56 a.m., Blogger christina said...

Expat - It's really way easier than it sounds. And I'd rather type out a thousand recipes than do the laundry.

Dixie - I know! Why didn't we think of that? Thank goodness for expat brain power.

lilyb - lemon curd is wonderful. I love that stuff.

Andrea - That's what I say when I go to your blog and see all the delicious stuff Li made you for dinner. :-)

Elemm - LOL! You crack me up.

At March 08, 2006 12:57 p.m., Anonymous lilliancan'tbake said...

I could think about making the american version.. but gosh.. thats sooo complicated !!! No, cakes are bad for you. my family can eat Oreos instead...

At March 09, 2006 5:26 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

I just wish I had more time to do this and have the poeple to eat it all. We're only two and Ornage is aways on business a lot, so I end up throwing a lot away...

At March 09, 2006 5:27 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Ornage?? Nor. Orange. Hehe. Oops.

At March 21, 2006 7:59 p.m., Blogger lily b said...

By the way, I finally got around to making this and it was a big hit! So big that it disappeared in two days. *sigh*

At March 21, 2006 8:00 p.m., Blogger lily b said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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