This recipe has been inspired by the April’s Daring Bakers Challenge. The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Jenny has offered a basic recipe but challenged us all to turn the recipe into something unique, as she said ‘make a show stopper of a dessert’ by adding our own flavour, sauce or decoration.
The flavours I chose are from a recipe I used at a restaurant a few years ago, although it was the set variety then not baked, I had always intended to try and make a baked version but never got round to it. This was my chance, I had the Turkish Delight already (there is more often than not a supply in my cupboard!) and we were having visitors over for dinner on Saturday 25th. Yes a bit last minute I know particularly since I am travelling to Sydney on Monday 27th for work!
The cheesecake was a hit with our guests and was really very easy to make. I halved the mixture which made 4 individual portions but the full mix would be enough for 8 people.
Here’ the recipe with my additional flavours added to the basic mix
- 2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I used McVities Chocolate Digestives in mine)
- 1 stick / 114g/4 oz butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
- 24 oz/680g cream cheese
- 1 cup / 210 g sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream (I used sour cream)
- 4 tbsp rose water (my addition to basic recipe)
- 200g rose Turkish delight (my addition to basic recipe)
- 3 drops of red food colour (my addition to basic recipe)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
- 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.
- If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
- Combine cream cheese 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, 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 and rose water until smooth and creamy.
- Divide mixture into two bowls and add the red food colouring to one half and mix until colour is fully incorporated.
- Chop the turkish delight up into small pieces and place half over the crust base.
- Spoon batter onto the prepared crust alternating the colour to give a marble effect and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Swirl a knife through it to make more texture on top but avoid moving the Turkish delight. (I actually swirled my two colours together in a bowl and then added them to the crust as this is how we used to make the set variety but of course that was quite thick and kept the colours separate. Unfortunately the colours mixed together too much therefore I recommend the marble technique instead).
- Drop the rest of the Turkish delight into the batter, it should sink in slightly.
- Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
- 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.
Here are some other variations offered by Jenny and Abby but I haven’t tried any of these. Although if you head over to TheDaringKitchen website or Foodgawker.com you will find a lot more variations from the other Daring Bakers participating this month, well worth visiting.
** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries – heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon – cook until berries burst, then cool)
** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel – take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website – just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).
** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.
** Mexican Turtle – add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.
** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of “coins” of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.
Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):
**Key lime – add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.
**Cheesecakelets – put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.