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Pinterest Trial #6: Cheesecake

This wasn't my first tango with a cheesecake.
First time around (a few months ago) it came out all cracked and spotty-looking, despite the fact that I had set my sights on the simplest recipe I could find.

Before my second attempt I changed tactics. I did some online research before firing up the mixer and it totally paid off! No cracks, an even colour all around and a way creamier texture.

I found this 3-Step Recipe on Pinterest (of course!)

I'm THE WORST at absolutely everything in the kitchen, so to all my fellow Kitchen Catastrophes out there - here's what I did differently for Baby Brother's 21st birthday lunch @ Mom's:
  • Cream Cheese - looks like Philadelphia Cream Cheese disappeared from South African shelves, so I used 3 tubs of LANCEWOOD® Full Fat Cream Cheese instead.
  • Cookie Crumbs - using my mortar, with a double-lining of cling wrap to keep the crumbs from sticking to it, I pestled a box of BAKERS Nuttikrust® biscuits until reduced to fine crumbs. (We have a granite set like this one at home and I was able to do about half the box at the same time.)
  • Melted Butter - the lazy way would be popping it in the microwave for 30 - 60 seconds, so that's exactly what I did.
  • Springform Pan - I suspect that my pan is a bit too big, because the cheesecake looked a bit flat. It was leveled across the top (no falling flat in the middle). It just wasn't very high. Is there some easy trick to making it rise higher that I haven't figured out yet?
  • Mixing - a hand mixer is not the best choice for me. I used mine with my first cheesecake and the whisks kept getting stuck in the thick mix despite the fact that I had already gotten the cream cheese down to room temperature. Back then I was forced to use my hands to rub the mix until smooth (yuck!) and I wasn't about to do said unnatural things with my hands again. A Kenwood Chef is still beyond my grasp (still wishing upon that star), but Adri was kind enough to lend me theirs, so crisis averted. Just remember, slow and steady. You don't want to stir too much air in.
  • Water Bath - Lindsay's method was the easiest to follow, but I had no slow cooker bags on hand. In fact, I had no idea such things even existed! Having said all that, I was not going to let a water leak mess up my progress. I simply triple-foiled the base of my pan.
  • Thermofan vs Conventional - I baked my cheesecake as close as possible to one of the corners in the front of my oven (closest to the door), with the fan on, at 170°C for the first 10 minutes and then at 150°C for another 35 minutes (this is what my oven's guide suggested). I'm still not 100% sure how the different cooking times and temperatures are calculated for thermo ovens compared to conventional ovens, but you can have a look at this answer on Nigella's website for more info.
  • Cooling - running a knife around the sides (between the cake & the pan) was super easy (thanks to Spray 'n Cook!), so when my kitchen timer went off I quickly switched off my oven and loosened the sides before placing the springform pan (with the cheesecake) back in the oven with the door cracked open. I baked one cheesecake before I went to bed and the other the morning after, and I must say the longer the cooling off period, the better the consistency and texture. It's also easier to transfer the cheesecake from the pan to a serving plate/tray if it's completely cooled down to room temperature.
  • Serving - while I had the first cake in the oven, I quickly prep'd the toppings. I chose fresh fruit, because I looooooove new york style cheesecake combined with the tartness of fresh fruit. Mix 1 contained finely chopped kiwi, red grape & strawberries. Mix 2 was halved cherries, figs & honey. A few hours before serving, I arranged these on top of each and tada!
I had some help taking - and posting - a photo of the final "masterpieces". Here they are:
A post shared by Marli Jonck (@marlijonck) on

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