Hello! It’s been a little hectic around here with a six month old who has decided she’s really into solid food (maybe you could tell from the photos in the last post that this baby really enjoys eating!) and is on the verge of figuring out how to stand on her own (Yikes – we are not ready for a cruising baby at all!)
Fortunately, the parents have arrived in town to provide a little relief. To welcome them, I wanted to make one of my mom’s favorite desserts: cheesecake. My mom is fairly picky about her sweets, claiming that most Western style desserts are way too rich and sweet for her (you know Chinese moms – to them dessert is a nice plate of orange slices), so I’ve learned to avoid making anything with chocolate, or loaded with frosting or sugar, when she’s around.
This version, adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, is an elegant and relatively light dessert, ideal for summer. It’s made from a mixture of cream cheese and cottage cheese, and bakes into a thin, yet still-fluffy layer. I added in a bit of orange flower water and orange peel to up the summery feel of the cake. I didn’t quite use up all the batter, because I didn’t get the crumb crust high enough on the sides, so I’ve increased the crust ingredients in the recipe below. Try to get the crumbs between halfway to two-thirds up the side of the springform pan. I also got to use up the last of our frozen olallieberries, which should just be coming into season again, as a sweet underpinning to the cheesecake. You can use any kind of jam you like, or fresh berries as well. I also like that this cake bakes up fine without a water bath, so it’s a little less fiddly when you want to be spending minimal time in a hot kitchen during a hot summer day. The cheesecake is meant to fall and even crack slightly while cooling, but in my opinion still looks (and tastes) absolutely fine.
This got an enthusiastic nod from Mom (whew!) so I’m happy to add this to the list of Things I Can Make When Mom’s In Town. I’m also testing out a Japanese style “cotton-soft” or soufflé cheesecake, as they are very popular in Asia, so when I’m happy with that one I’m looking forward to posting it as well!
- adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup (50 g) berries or berry jam
- 8 ounces (227 g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 ounces (227 g) cottage cheese
- 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water
- 1 teaspoon orange peel
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan well.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add in butter and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into bottom and about halfway to two-thirds up the sides.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
For the filling:
- If you are using fresh berries, place them in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until softened and syrupy. Add sugar to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Combine cream cheese and cottage cheese in food processor. Process until smooth and combined. Add in sugar and salt and process to combine. Add in orange flower water and orange peel and process to combine.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, and process until mixture is smooth and liquid.
- Spread berries or berry jam over the bottom of the crust. Pour the cream cheese filling over the jam.
- Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, until filling is just set and jiggles very slightly when moved.
- Let cheesecake cool on wire rack to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator before serving.