Last week, Americans celebrated the 4th of July and we expats were no exception. Due to scheduling problems, we had to move our barbeque to the 10th, but it’s the thought that counts. As one of my American club’s two resident bakers, I volunteered to bring one of the desserts. My first inclination was to bake cupcakes since we have a lot of children between us, and we all know how much kids love cupcakes. But then I remembered that the horrible oven in my new house makes them turn out half-brown, half-baked, and slanted like a ski slope – sooo frustrating!!! I decided to try a cheesecake and hope for the best. We’re a large group, so I had planned to make two, but when the time came, it seemed like too much. On the other hand, one didn’t feel like enough. What to do, what to do…?
As I was digging through my springform pans, I saw that I also had one that was a size larger than I usually use. Could it work, I wondered? I worried that it would be much too thin, and then I remembered an old cheesecake recipe I used to love which had an extra creamy white layer baked on top of the cheesecake. I decided to try it using our New York Cheesecake mix and the result was awesome! I thought I’d share it with you in case you ever need to stretch a cheesecake for a larger group of people. I know that we Americans are prone to exaggeration, but seriously – that entire cheesecake was gone in under 5 minutes!
Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Makes one 27cm cake
1 Antoinette New York Cheesecake mix
110 grams unsalted butter
450 grams cream cheese
2 large eggs
600 grams crème fraiche
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries for topping
Preheat the oven to 170˚C (my oven is stuck on the convection setting, so I baked mine at 160˚C). Line the bottom of a 27cm springform pan with baking paper.
Melt the butter and prepare the crumb crust according to package directions. Pour it into the baking pan, distribute evenly only on the bottom and press down firmly.
Prepare the filling according to package directions, pour into the pan and spread evenly to the edge with a rubber spatula. Give it a small shake and tap it down to make sure it’s flat and even.
Place the cheesecake in the middle of the oven and bake 20-30 minutes, until the surface feels dry to the touch (mine was done in 20 minutes because of the convection heat). Remove the cheesecake to a cooling rack while you prepare the topping.
In a bowl, mix the crème fraiche, sugar, and vanilla extract with a spoon, stirring until it is smooth and creamy. Very gently spoon the crème fraiche mixture over the top of the cheesecake and carefully spread it smoothly and evenly, making sure it touches the sides of the pan.
Place the cheesecake in the oven again and bake another 10 minutes – topping should still be white. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely. Cover it well and chill in the refrigerator for 5 hours or overnight.
Before serving, remove the side of the pan and decorate the top of your cheesecake with the berries.
Make sure you get your own piece early on because the whole thing will be gone in the blink of an eye!
Let them eat cake!