Posted by: Anja | September 28, 2010

American Cheesecake

I’ve actually never made German cheesecake. Though I love it! When I was a kid, I was really picky about cakes. I didn’t eat any, but cheesecake. But without raisins or apples or anything, I thought that raisins or anything added is just a degradation of pure cheesecake. Well, times changes and my taste changes as well, making me able to accept the fact that there are people who actually like eating cheesecake that has something inside and making me one of the people trying to make a cheesecake like that.

A friend of mine asked me whether I could take a look at American strawberry cheesecake and tell her a good recipe. Using the internet, I came up with a good recipe last week, though I don’t think it’s quite what she expected because it doesn’t have any real strawberry pieces inside but uses strawberry puree instead. In general, I don’t like strawberries much in baked goods, my theory being confirmed by the strawberry scones I made this week-end, because strawberries tend to lose all their color when being baked and slushy pink just doesn’t look that good. Also, they lose a lot of their taste (yes, looks first, then taste ;)), which I think is really a pity. Nevertheless, this strawberry cheesecake passed the social acceptance test, being a bit hit with my friends. I’m a bit skeptic, but that’s probably because I still remember the light and fluffy German cheesecakes from my childhood and have actually never eaten a real American cheesecake, which seem to be quite heavy and not as good as my strawberry cheesecake version. So from that point of view, I would recommend this recipe, though I think that German cheesecake tastes better than American cheesecake.

Strawberry Cheesecake
idea adapted from allrecipes.com

1 1/4 cups of graham crackers (I used honey graham crackers)
60g sugar
80g butter
300g strawberries
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
3 * 225g cream cheese
400ml condensed milk
50ml lemon juice
3 eggs

First step: Grease a 25cm spring form with butter or vegetable oil. Melt the 80g of butter in a small pot over medium heat. Use a fork to crumble the graham crackers into really small pieces, it should be really close to the consistency of sugar though a few bigger pieces are allowed of course. Add the sugar to the crackers and the butter. Use a spoon to combine. Fill into the spring form and press firmly onto the bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Second step: Use a handmixer to puree the strawberries and the cornstarch. Bringt the mixture in a medium-sized bowl to a boil, let it boil for two minutes, then set aside and let cool completely. You can put away a bit of the the sauce for serving later, but I used all of it on the cake.

Third step: Preheat the oven to 150°C. Combine the ingredients for the cheesecake part, the cream cheese, milk, eggs and lemon juice. Since the cream cheese was pretty sticky, I used the handmixer for this step again. Retrieve your spring form from the refrigerator and fill in the cream cheese mixture. The original recipe said that you should fill in only half, then spoon in part of the strawberry sauce, then add more cream cheese filling. That didn’t really work for me so I’d just fill in the complete cream cheese mixture and then drop dollops of the strawberry sauce on top. Use a knife to make funny patterns. :)

Fourth step: Put the cake into the oven for 50 minutes, then let it cool down for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the spring form to avoid the cake sticking to the form when cooled. Then let the cake cool down completely and refrigerate overnight. Let it get warm about 30minutes to one hour before serving it.

At this point I have to say that the sauce contained to much cornstarch for my taste, but I also didn’t use as much strawberries as required, which was probably the problem. Take a look at the original looks of the cake and mine, there is a huge difference in the color of the strawberry sauce. Try increasing the amount of strawberries when your sauce looks similar to mine, but don’t add any more cornstarch. Also, don’t try to make cute lines with your sauce, because it’s just too much sauce and you end up with an all-red top of the cake like mine. Just drop in dollops and then use a knife to make it look good. :)

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