Cheesecake is one of the world’s most popular desserts… certainly the most fashionable.
Cheesecake is so rich, so luscious, you need to serve only small slices. So, although it is not the dessert to make when you’re on a budget, one cheesecake will go a long way; in an 8 or 9in Size, it will give up to 12 servings.
Cheesecakes can be baked or unbaked (set in the refrigerator). For baked cheesecakes, cooking times should be followed carefully. Don’t overcook them. At the end of the specified cooking time, the cheesecake might still appear soft in the centre; but it becomes firmer as it stands.
An over-baked cheesecake develops grainy texture; it is inclined to shrink, crack, and become dry as it cools. Some chefs believe all cheesecakes shrink on cooling; it’s a scientific inevitability and nothing to worry about.
But if you cool the cheesecake by the following method you’ll find there is very little shrinking, and the cheesecake does not fall in the centre. When baking time is over, turn off the oven heat, leave the oven door ajar, and let the cheesecake stand undisturbed in the oven until it is quite cool. This helps to set the soft centre and prevent it falling. It will not cause over-baking. When the cheesecake is cool, refrigerate until it has set firmly.
Large cheesecakes are best if made the day before they are to be served and refrigerated overnight; the filling sets firmly and they’re easier to cut.
How many crumbs?
For a crumb crust that will hold its shape without crumbling, and cut well, the ideal proportions are: Half the amount of butter or substitute to the weight of biscuit crumbs. For example, a crumb crust which used 8oz biscuit crumbs would hold together well with 4oz melted butter or substitute.
Below are the various proportions of biscuit crumbs and butter needed for each particular size. To this may be added a little cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. – any flavoring which will blend with filling.
- 7in sandwich tin with removable base: 6oz plain, sweet biscuit crumbs, 3oz butter or substitute.
- 8in springform pan: 8oz plain, sweet biscuit crumbs, 4oz butter or substitute.
- 9in springform pan: 12oz plain, sweet biscuit crumbs, 6oz butter or substitute.
- 10in – 11in springform pan: 1lb plain, sweet biscuit crumbs, 8oz butter or substitute.
- 8in – 9in pie plate: 6oz plain, sweet biscuit crumbs, 3oz butter or substitute.
Cheesecakes are easier to turn out if you use a springform pan. These have an adjustable case with a clip at the side; the base is removable.
To serve cheesecake
After the cheesecake has been removed from the tin and the crumb,crust neatened, let it remain on the springform pan base.
Simply lift it, with base, onto serving dish. (There’s a possibility of the crumb crust cracking or crumbling if you tried to remove cake from base.)
But if you do want to serve the cake without the base, here’s a hint: Reverse the base of the springform pan before pressing in the crumb crust. It is the slight ridge on the springform base which makes it difficult to remove cheesecake. You’ll now be able to take a long-bladed knife or spatula, work it gently under the crumb crust and carefully slide the cheesecake onto serving plate.
Cut cheesecake into wedges for serving. A thin, flexible metal spatula makes it easy to remove individual wedges. Or use a thin, sharp knife; slip it under the crumb crust of each wedge, separating it from the base, then lift out carefully.