When you're the youngest kid in a family, you share your parents' fate, to see your brothers and sisters growing up and spreading their wings, with pride and a little sadness.
The first holidays they spend away with their friends, the day they leave home to go to University, the day they move in with their partner...and their first Christmas with their in-laws.
Like your parents, you find out that you can never really get prepared for any of this, and that even though it's life and you're happy for them, every Christmas eve without them breaks your heart a little.
This year is one of these Christmases, when most of my siblings (yes, I've got many of them) will be with their in-laws. So this time, the rest of the family have decided to make the most of it and shake up those Christmas traditions by getting away from our big empty family home.
So, tada!, this year my parents and one of my sisters will come and spend Christmas in London, at mine!
...and slowly...this is when the pressure sinks in. Will I be able to pull if off?
More on that later.
The Ultimate New York Cheesecake Recipe
This is a simple and delicious New York Cheesecake recipe adapted from my favourite cheesecake recipes book : Women's weekly cheesecakes book
Fresh, rich, it has everything to please!
You can either make a crushed biscuit base like in this recipe, or use a sweet shortcrust pastry for the base (which I did this time). Both work, so just go with your mood!
1 shortcrust pastry
750g mix of cream cheese and quark (I used 600g cream cheese and 150g quark)
100ml sour cream
200g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon + 1 tsp of orange juice (from the pressed orange)
For the sour cream topping, mix together
150ml sour cream
2 tbsp of caster sugar
Make the New York Cheesecake
Preheat the oven at 160deg C/Gas 2
1/ Bake blind the shortcrust pastry with baking beans for 10min at 180deg C
(Grease and line the base of a 23cm spring form cake tin with baking parchment and the pastry, you cover the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans or uncooked rice, and you bake for 10min. Remove the paper and beans, and leave to cool)
2/ Make the filling : with an electric whisk or food processor, mix the cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the sour cream, juices and zests of lemons and orange, and mix until well combined.
3/ Pour the cheesecake mixture over the base and cook for 40 min to an hour until the cheesecake is cooked on the outside and still slightly wobbly in the center. Spread over the sour cream topping, leave to bake for 10 more minutes, turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
4/ Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight.