Monday, 26 December 2016

Classic German Cheesecake

This recipe has been tried and tested many times for the #Deutschesupperclub as well as for parties and such. It's original recipe is from the book, 'Grandma's German Cookbook' written by Birgit Hamm and Linn Schmidt published Dorling Kindersley and has been in my kitchen pantry (well a copy of it) since... 2013 I think. The cookbook in itself is very easy to follow with classic recipes. I have tried a few out already and have served it at the supperclub with reviews plus the cookbook is in German. 

Before blabbing on for too long, the Classic Cheesecake recipe from this cookbook has been the most used with slight amendments to it only to suit my oven so you would need to be in tune with yours to know best. Plus, this recipe seems to go down very well with loads of people and since I have promised to provide the recipe, here it is:

Classic Cheesecake - The German Grandma's way

Makes 1 (9 1/2 inch / 24cm) cake
[Here I used 9 inch / 20cm) cake tin for a higher cake and baking time is probably 5 minutes extra]

Ingredients:

For the crust: [original measurements]
250g flour
125 cold unsalted butter - cubed 
3 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 large egg

(you can substitute the unsalted butter with a salted one and omit the pinch of salt. I just use whatever is in my fridge and still add the salt0

For the filling: [original measurements]
170g ricotta cheese
450g cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
130 caster sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup constarch
125 melted unsalted butter
zest of 1 organic lemon

(my amendments are:
1 tub ricotta cheese - your local grocer usually sells a standard tub
2x Philadelphia Cream Cheese blocks - one is about 270g
50ml whipping cream
zest of 1 normal store bought lemon - Malaysia doesn't have organic lemons from all the shopping I do
The same substitution can be made for the unsalted butter with regular salted butter)

Note: Please do not use butter spreads, margarine, so called oil spreads and the such. They would only change the dimension of the cake and will not produce the same results you wish to have

Method:

1. This recipe calls for you to drip dry your ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese is traditionally packed with some of the brine which you do not need. As the cheese can take time to drip dry, do this as your first step by emptying out the ricotta cheese on a sieve placed on top of a bowl and put it into the fridge. This can be done overnight or two hours before you start making the crust. Do not remove from the fridge when you start making the crust.

2. Next, make the crust. Measure out your ingredients as usual and your butter must be cold. Room temperature butter will only make your dough harder to come together. In a food processor (for faster mixing) sift the flour into the cavity and add the cold cubed butter. Cover, and pulse (this means pressing the power button intermittently) so that the butter and flour becomes crumb like (almost like bread crumbs). Then add the sugar, salt and egg to fully incorporate. The dough will come together very quickly when it lumps altogether in a huge lump. Pour out the contents onto some clingfilm, wrap it and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This allows the dough to rest and set.

(if you are using a mixing bowl, sift flour into bowl and rub the cold butter into the flour to the same bread crumb like consistency. Then add all remaining ingredients and run your hands through the ingredients until it becomes a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and place in fridge for the duration mentioned above)

3. Take out the cream cheese blocks from the fridge so that it can come up to room temperature. Trust me, this helps in making sure you can cream the cheese easier in the mixer. Also, you can remove the cream cheese from the packaging and place it into the mixing bowl so that you don't have wait after to do this.

4. Then while waiting for the dough to rest in the fridge, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Place the oven rack to the second tier from the bottom of the oven. Next measure out your baking paper to the circumference of your baking pan. Preferably use a baking pan with a loose bottom so that it makes it easier to remove your cake after. Butter the pan and place the baking paper at the base of the pan before buttering it again. This ensures your crust doesn't stick to the baking paper though for me it is more for easier removal of the cake to the cake plate.

5. Take the dough out to be rolled out. Best done cold. Pour some flour onto your kitchen counter or table wherever you have space, and whip out a rolling pin. Cut maybe three quarters of the dough first as it may be enough depending on the cake pan size you use. Lightly dust some flour onto the dough and the rolling pin. Then roll the dough lightly to flatten it a little before turning the dough with your hands 90 degrees either way (doesn't matter whether left or right) Use a dough scraper to help with the turning of the dough if needed. Constantly turn the dough and dust the dough too to avoid it sticking to your rolling pin. Once fully rolled out, it should measure between 2.5mm to 3mm thickness and is larger than the circumference of the cake pan. So long as it isn't too thin that it breaks in your hands when trying to transfer it to the cake pan. 

Transfer the rolled out dough to the cake pan by using your rolling pin. Place your rolling pin to the section of the dough nearest to you and lift the edges up to the rolling pin. Usually with enough flour, the dough will not stick to the surface and can be easily rolled onto the pin if so. If not, use the dough scraper to assist it a little. Once fully rolled onto the rolling pin, take your cake pan and place it fright in front of you and roll out the dough by using the rolling pin. It should cover the entire bottom of the cake and the sides too. Don't worry if it breaks. Just use the leftover dough to cover the sides. Don't press too hard otherwise it will become uneven.

Note: Malaysia's temperature is probably not the most ideal for crust based cakes so you will experience the cake crust breaking when trying to transfer it to the cake pan. That is not a cause for worry. It just means that you will need to do a lot of puzzle work (patching up holes and stuff). 

Place the dough covered cake pan into the fridge to firm the dough a little more while proceeding to make the filling.

6. Now is the filling. Take out the sour cream, the ricotta cheese and whipping cream from the fridge. Next, melt your butter either on a stove top or in the microwave oven. Either way it would not change the consistency. The best way to make the filling is to cream all the cheeses together first until there are no lumps. Use the whisk attachment as the paddle won't do it justice. Once you notice that the cheeses are lump free, add in the sour cream and whipping cream. Stir it in, or use the lowest gauge on your mixer. Once incorporated, add all other ingredients required. The eggs can be added all at once. Scrape the sides to make sure the cream cheese isn't sticking to the sides of the bowl. Beat until all ingredients are well blended. This means no lumps and the filling / custard looks slightly yellow from the egg yolks.

7. Take out the cake pan from the fridge and pour in the filling. There is no need to thud the cake pan on the counter top to rid of air bubbles. Place the cake in the over and bake for about 50 minutes. At the 48 minute mark, check on your cheesecake to see if it is wobbling. You can check this by moving the cake tray. Wobbling means the filling is not fully set yet. Add 5 minutes to that and it should be less wobbly by then. Remove the cake from the oven after and let it fully rest in the cake pan. 

Note: if the top of the cake turns brown quicker when baking, place a sheet of baking paper or aluminium foil on top of the cake for it to stop browning. It won't affect the baking process of the cake.

8. Serve with some warm fruit compote if you wish or eat as is. Truly decadent but light as a fluff! As one diner said, hold on... I am having an orgasm in my mouth, this cake is truly exceptional. 

[The method above is totally based on what I have been doing and not from the cookbook as I think only an experienced cook can tell what exactly they require]. In any case if you have any problems, message me and I'll help out with the cooking methods!

Enjoy! Malzeit!

Yours by cheesecake,
Innovativebaker

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