24 Jan 2014

The Best Ever Chilled Cheesecake (+ variations)

I'm on a diet.
Yes. I said it. And this time, it's for real, and I can't mess with it because I just put it out there for the entire world to be a witness to.

Why? Because I've got a wardrobe full of clothes I love and that don't fit me anymore. That's a good enough reason, isn't it?

I'm following the Weight Watchers weight loss program. I chose it because it's a diet that includes all types of food and drink. I'm even allowed a certain amount of treats per week, which more or less allows me to eat a big piece of any cake I like once a week. It also fits with the fact that I like to eat out a lot, and I see it as something I will be able to follow in the long run (not like the super fast diets that make you eat only certain foods, for you to put all the weight back on again as soon as you start eating normally again)

The key is building a balanced diet (incredible, right?!) and planning treats to really enjoy them, rather than just eating any old junk food that comes to hand and which is often not that great.

So far so good, I've lost 1.4kg in 2 weeks. So it's slowly but surely!

The Best Ever Chilled Cheesecake
(+ variations)

God knows I love baked cheesecake like the New York Cheesecake, but this one is undoubtedly my all time favourite. As it's a chilled (not baked) cheesecake, its texture is smoother, lighter. I just love it. 
This base recipe allows you to be creative and personalise your cheesecake by adding any flavour you might like : Fruits, Fudge, Chocolate, Toffee...
Just play with it, and enjoy!


600g cream cheese (full fat)
200g double cream (light if you like)
100g (more or less, to taste) caster sugar
Half a sachet of gelatine + 2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 pack of digestive biscuits (approx 12 biscuits) : hobnobs or ginger nuts
40g of butter, melted
a drizzle of golden syrup
any optional addition : pieces of toffee, fudge, fresh fruit cut in pieces, etc

Make the cheesecake

1/ Preheat the oven to 180deg C

2/ In a food processor, process the digestive biscuits until they ressemble fine crumbs. Alternatively, put them in a freezing bag and smash them with a rolling pin until they ressemble fine crumbs. 

3/ In a large bowl, mix the crumbs with the melted butter and a drizzle of golden syrup until well combined. Press firmly onto the base of a 22/24cm diameter round cake tin with removable bottom (the golden syrup is my personal addition to the traditional recipe. I find that it seals the crumbs together and form a lovely crunchy base). Cook for 10-15 min in the oven until golden brown. Leave to cool completely.

4/ In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Add the double cream and mix until well combined. 

5/ Take a break to prepare the gelatine: in a small bowl, mix together the gelatine powder and 2 tbsp of water. Heat in the microwave for 10 sec until the gelatine powder is completely dissolved (add 10sec more if needed), mix well and leave to cool for 1 min.

6/ Add the gelatine to the cheese mixture and mix well. Add the sugar, the vanilla, and mix well.

At this stage, you can add any "dry" addition ("dry" in order not to compromise the cheesecake mixture) that you wish to the cheesecake mix : toffee, fudge, fresh fruits (avoid very juicy fruits like pineapple, peaches, citrus, etc)

7/ Pour the cheese mixture onto the cake base, smooth the top with a spatula, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. Take the cheesecake out of the mould and serve.

Almond and seed brittle decoration (like on my picture)
On a silicone baking mat, spread roughly chopped almonds and sesame seeds.
Make a caramel in a small pan (heat 100g of sugar, with no water. Just let the sugar dissolve without mixing, until the it turns into a golden caramel)
Pour the caramel over the nuts on a thin layer, leave to cool completely before cutting into chunks.
Decorate your cheesecake with little chunks of brittle (they look rough on purpose)  

Blueberry (or other red fruits)
Just drop whole fresh blueberries in the cheesecake mixture before spreading it onto the base.
An hour before serving, make a blueberry coulis by heating fresh (or ideally frozen) blueberries in a small bowl with sugar in the microwave for 2 minutes. Mix and leave to cool completely before pouring over the cheesecake (once taken out of the mould)

Toffee / Fudge
Cut fudge candies in small pieces and add them to the cheesecake mixture before spreading it onto the base.
An hour before serving, make a toffee sauce by heating 50g of light muscovado sugar with 40g butter and 150ml of double cream in a small pan. Mix and cook until it turns to a toffee colour. Leave to cool, and pour over the cheesecake before serving

Picture courtesy of Pierre, who took a picture of my cheesecake very quickly in my lounge before we dug into it!

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