I’m a die hard Friends fan. This is not an exaggerated statement. I’ve watched every single episode more times than I can keep count of. If i’m bored, if I’m having a sleepless night, or if I just want a good giggle to lighten up my mood, I put on a random episode and end up with six or seven back-to-back ones till I can feel like I’m ready to face the day again.
If you’re as big of a fan, then you probably know where this post is heading. The One With All The Cheesecakes. Much to my dismay, The Mama’s Little Bakery cheesecake that supposedly makes the best cheesecake Rachel and Chandler have ever tastes does not really exist. Considering how I’m not much of a fan of cheesecakes, since they’re usually so dense, I was fascinated by the way it appeared to be so creamy and light, especially with it laying flat faced on the floor.
Back to reality. whenever I read a baked cheesecake recipe, I always find it so daunting to try to make it. I’ve done the no-bake caramel cheesecake before, and it’s far from being challenging. I mean there’s no risk of it not rising or setting. But when it comes to a baked cheesecake, a few things can go wrong, the most noteworthy would be getting a cracked surface which often times results from too much air getting whisked into the mixture.
After making three different batches of this cheesecake, I can officially say the I cracked the code (see what I did there?). So a few steps to follow when you decide to make this.
- Always plan ahead. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature in order to avoid lumpy cream cheese when creaming it.
- Make sure you combine the ingredients well, and add the eggs right at the end. The trick is to mix the ingredients well until they’re smooth, then add the eggs while gently beating. The eggs have a tendency to hold air, so mix the eggs on low speed to avoid getting any air bubbles in to the batter. (During baking, air bubbles will expand and pop, leaving holes are areas of weakness which can contribute to the cracking).
- Make sure you grease the sides of your baking pan well. During cooking, the cheesecake will shrink and pull away from the sides. If it isn’t greased well, the cake will stick and pull, causing tension and cracking / splitting open in the middle and around the edges.
- Don’t bake the cheesecake for longer than stated. When the time is up, you should have a wobble in the middle of the cake. This will firm as it cools.
- When you have put the mixture in to the pan, run a round bladed knife around to get rid of any air bubbles you see. You can also tap the pan over a hard surface a few times to get rid of any internal air bubbles.
- Finally, be patient. Once the baking time is up, leave the cheesecake in the oven while it’s switched with the door slightly open and allow it to cool down. If you remove it too soon and try and cool it too quickly, it will crack.
Cracks do not, in any way, affect the taste of your cheesecake, but it does affect the appearance, and also, your pride. But, if that did happen for some reason beyond your control, just hide it under icing sugar, and/or a pile of berries.
This version is a basic classic bake, far from the fancy spectrum of flavors, fillings, and crusts you often see at restaurants and cafes. It is creamy and definitely indulgent, but not dense. It’s sweet but not overly so. The lemon zest gives it a slight fresh touch without being obviously lemon, however, the passion fruit coulis gives it a citrus-y taste to compliment the freshness.
To sum it up, and in the words of the great Chandler Bing;
“I’m full, and yet I know if I stop eating this, I will regret it.”
Baked Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Coulis
Yields: 8” Round Tin
For the crust
- 1 (250 grams) package digestive biscuits
- 50 grams desiccated coconut
- 150 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp lemon zest
For the filling
- 2 (250 grams) packets cream cheese, at room temperature
- 155 grams granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 5 eggs
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
For the passion fruit coulis
- Juice of one orange
- pulp of 4 ripe passion fruits
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- Release the base from an 8” springform pan and invert. Line with non-stick baking paper, allowing sides to overhang. Secure the base back into the pan, and wrap it with aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping into it when it’s baked in the water bath.
- Make the crust, place biscuits and coconut in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely crushed. Add butter and lemon zest. Process until well combined. Transfer to pan. Use the back of a spoon to spread and press firmly over the base and side of pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
- Make the filling, preheat oven to 160°C. Use an electric beater to beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon rind in a large bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice and flour. Beat until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cream and beat until well combined.
- Pour into prepared pan and place in a roasting pan large enough to prevent sides from touching. Place into oven and carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of springform pan.
- Bake in oven for 1 hour 10 mins or until the cheesecake is just set in the centre. Turn the oven off. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door slightly ajar, for 2 hours or until cooled completely (this prevents the cake from cracking). Place in fridge overnight to set.
- For the coulis, in a saucepan, put the sugar and orange juice over medium heat and allow it to gently simmer. Remove the pulp from the passion fruit, and add it to the pot. Simmer for a few minutes till the sugar dissolves. Remove and let it cool for a few minutes. Store in a jar and refrigerate till it’s ready to use.
Bon Appetit 🙂