Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
Resting Time: 2 hours atleast
Expertise Level: Easy
Ingredients Availability: Cream Cheese is normally not available in regular grocery stores. You should get it in any big supermarket though.
- Taste Palate: Not to sweet. Just right so that you splurge just a lil bit more. (No, not because it is less fatty)
- Ambience: Call your cousins and aunts or your closest friends, for a fun evening with board games, and movie screenings. Surprise them with this easy dessert.
- Music: Lots of laughter and smiles. Ok! so if you are a real suck up for music despite the drama around you, play some popular music everyone likes. Play your mom’s favourite song.
For the crust:
150 gms digestive biscuits
50 gms ginger biscuits
2 tbsp white or brown sugar
1 tbsp coffee powder
85 gm unsalted diced cold butter
For cheese cake fillings:
180 gm cream cheese @ room temperature
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract preferably or vanilla essence
200 ml double cream
500 gms black seedless grapes
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar (add half a more if the grapes aren’t sweet enough)
a pinch of salt
While I was in Bangalore this month to visit my mom, she decided to make me some cheesecake so that I can put up on the blog. Whenever I go home, my mother stocks up the kitchen with the most exotic ingredients so that she can pamper her foodie daughter with her extraordinary cooking. While i have been asking her to send me recipes so that I can share them with you, she is on her own hunt these days to try new things. She is super inspired by Donna Hay these days, as her fresh and simple style of cooking (with lots of cheats like this one) suits my mother’s style too. This recipe too is inspired by Donna Hay’s No Bake cheesecake.
So, mom and I get together to make our cheesecake. While my mother took up the tough job,I decided to make the topping, a technique I learnt recently at a cooking workshop. Wanted to show off to her and impress my brother too. First we will start with the cheesecake.
This is what mum did to make the pie crust: She put all the crust ingredients into food processor and pulsed it till the mixture looked like coarse meal. She said, its important that the butter is cold during this as it will bind the biscuits together. So make sure that you take the butter out just when you want to make the crust.
While mum was making the crust, I took a tart pan (8-9 inches)with a removable base, and greased it with butter. That’s normally the daughter’s job – Assist moms with menial work. Ain’t it true ? Moving on, if you don’t have this removable base tart pan, it will require a little more effort to get the cheesecake out when its ready, without breaking it. Thats all :). Once I did that, mum tipped the mixture onto the pan and pressed the crumb evenly around the pan. She kept the edge to an inch of height. Otherwise, the crust would have been much higher than the cheesecake filling mixture. She then covered it with a cling wrap and put it into the refrigerator to chill for about 15 to 20 minutes, while she started to prepare the cheese filling.
In a clean steel bowl, she beat the cream with hand mixer until soft peaks were formed. Its always better to chill the bowl before beating the cream. The process will be faster. In a separate bowl, she beat the cream cheese until it was smooth. Then she added the sugar and beat it some more. Once the the mixture was light and fluffy, she added the vanilla extract. She then folded the whipped cream into cheese mixture.
Once this was done, she took the crust pan out of the refrigerator and pored the filling over the biscuit crust. She spread the mixture smoothly, covered it again with a cling wrap and refrigerated it for two hours. If you chill it for longer, the texture will be much better. So for truly best results, make it a day earlier. 🙂
Now to make the topping, I took inspiration from the things I learnt at this cooking workshop I went to the last month, organized by a food blogger – Reshmy Kurien, who I have been following for the longest time. I think in my heart of hearts I was probably inspired to start my own, looking at her’s: http://bombaychowparty.wordpress.com/. She cooks awesome stuff and knows really good techniques. So yeah, one day I got a facebook feed from her blog, that she was organizing a food workshop for condiments like roasts, jams, and salsa. I knew how to spend that one Sunday after 3 working Sundays. I dragged my lazy ass out of bed that day and it was so totally worth it. My favourite learning that day was how to make Bacon Jam. Can you imagine?? I know for a lot of you it may sound weird, but it was outstanding. I’ll share the recipe once I make it again.
One of the other things I learnt that day was roasting fruits. How difficult can that be? It isn’t at all. So I decided to use that technique for our cheese cake topping. Get a baking tray, throw in the grapes, the oil, some salt, some sugar and an extra flavor of your choice. I used cinnamon for this dish as I felt it would be the right flavour for the cheesecake topping. Mix them up and arrange the grapes so that a single layer is formed. Pop it into an preheated oven and roast it for 45 minutes @250c. That’s it. The grape juices should have caramelized a bit, and the cinnamon should have done its trick. The grapes should be shriveled but not dry like raisins. It should be almost pulpy with the whole fruit intact. If you feel that the grapes still look raw, just roast it for 15 minutes longer.
Cool it down completely, before you gently spread it on top of the chilled cheesecake.
Food Marriage Tips:
1)Cheesecake by itself can be very overbearing. Must serve it with something lighter or fresher. In the recipe I used roasted grapes. If my mom had a choice, she would have served fresh fruits with it. Pick a fruit of your choice, around 500 gms of it, add 2 tbsp of caster sugar and some dry cherry. Marinate in room temperature for 20-30 minutes and then put on top of the cheese filling.
2) Now we don’t have to restrict ourselves to this recipe for the crust. Play around with it. For eg: for the crust you can use any other biscuit. You can add some dark chocolate or cocoa powder instead coffee powder. You can even add ¼ cup roasted almond or pecan while making crust.
3) The idea of roasting fruits is really cool. However, the trick is to boost its flavours once the fresh juiciness goes away. Reshmy’s trick is to add a herb. Use different herbs to sensationalize the flavours – rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, etc. We dont have to stick to grapes either. Try different fruits: peaches, pears, strawberries. Roasting time for different fruits will vary though. They will take more time than vegetables though due to high water content. So keep checking while roasting to figure out the consistency and the texture.