28 September 2007

Golden Cheesecake

Here is a recipe so simple that I wrote it down on a text message. When I get excited, I tend to spend a lot, and then I end up completely broke. That's when I managed to pirate this recipe out of renowned Chinese pastry chef Arron Liu's Desserts 1 book. My text message reads as follows:
340 cheese 60 sugar 2 eggs 10 lemon 70 butter 160 water bath 40 mins
My God, what does it all mean? Fortunately, my instructions here won't be as cryptic. But it will be almost as easy. If you have all your ingredients at room temperature, you can finish the batter in one bowl in 5 minutes. And it will be much easier (and much, MUCH better) than any gelatin-based or instant cheesecake you will ever have. (Recipe follows)
Golden Cheesecake
If you have a weighing scale, you can make everything in (almost) one bowl, so there's little cleanup. I just bought a Japanese digital kitchen scale for PhP1000 ($22 or £10.90)! It's so cute. Cute and deadly accurate. If you don't, I have the usual volume measurements here.

In a bowl, add 340 grams (12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages) room temperature cream cheese and beat with a hand mixer, stand mixer, or with your big, burly, Popeye-esque arms until smooth, like a thick peanut butter. Add 60 grams (5 tablespoons) granulated sugar and beat until well-combined. Add 2 whole large eggs and beat until smooth. Add 10 grams (1 tablespoon) lemon juice and beat until well-combined. Add 70 grams (5 tablespoons) of melted butter and beat until smooth. Batter's done!

Unlike "floured" cakes, there's no fear of overdeveloping anything in this batter, so feel free to beat it until there's no lumps.

Chef Liu used a special rectangular dessert "ring" which had no bottom. This batter is too scant for a springform pan, so I used a regular loaf pan (7-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches or 18cm) lined with one sheet of aluminum foil bent to cover all sides. If you have a pan with different dimensions, don't worry; just look out for signs of doneness. Place the loaf pan inside another larger pan and fill the larger pan to 1cm below the rim of the smaller pan with boiling water. Carefully place the whole set-up into a preheated 160°C (325°F) oven and bake for 40 minutes. What you're looking for is for most of the center to jiggle slightly. Take it out of the oven (and out of the boiling water) and run a thin knife all around the sides, then let cool completely. Chill until quite cold, then lift the aluminum foil with the cake out of the pan and serve.

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