I have been cooking and baking for a while now ,Cheesecake is something I never bothered to try at home. It is definitely a comfort food and I took comfort in buying a slice to please my taste buds. However, the Baking Partners challenge #9 changed all that and here's the result..................................
This recipe is adapted from www.divinetaste.com the Mango Cheesecake suggested by Sweatha who has a beautiful space - Experiments, Emotions , Experiences with Food.
The original recipe calls for mango, it is not in season and tinned mangoes was not an option I prefer.Therefore,I picked strawberries and fresh ones for now.No changes in the recipe,just replacement of fruit and made a different glaze.
160 gm (1 1/2 cups) digestive biscuits or any other fairly plain sweet biscuits, crushed
100 gm (1/2 cup) butter (preferably salted butter), chopped
Prepare the crust:
Place all the biscuits in a sealed plastic bag (Zip loc) and with a rolling pin beat until the biscuits are powdered.Once this is done put the biscuits in a large mixing bowl. Add in the butter and with the help of a pastry blender or with your hands rub the butter into the biscuits until the mixture is well mixed. Alternatively, process the biscuits in a food processor until fine, drop in the butter and process again until the mixture is properly blended.
Remove the mixture and press it evenly into the base of an 8” deep round springform pan or any pan with a removable bottom or a 9” regular round pan. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for half an hour.
160 gm (1 cup) fine sugar ( Increase the sugar if you want it sweeter)
800 gm (3 cups) thick full cream yogurt
400 gm (2 cups) paneer or cottage cheese
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) water
10 gm (10 tbsp) Chinagrass (use 15 gm if you want a cheesecake that won’t crumble at all.China grass or Agar Agar or Kanten is a sea weed and completely vegetarian. It gives a smooth, glossy finish and many chefs prefer to use it over gelatin. China grass, if used properly sets easily at room temperature..)
1 cup - Pureed strawberry
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth lined colander over a container and allow to drain overnight to get half the quantity ( 400 gm or 1 1/2 cups) thick yogurt.
Prepare the filling:
Break the china grass into small pieces and soak in 1 1/2 cups water for about 10 minutes until it becomes soft.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or blender place the strained yogurt and paneer/cottage cheese and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer this to a mixing bowl.
In a sauce pan, heat the strawberry puree over a medium flame. Do not allow this to boil.
In another saucepan place the chinagrass and water mixture and stir on low heat until it melts completely, about 5 to 6 minutes. Do not allow this to boil.After the chinagrass melts completely, pour the hot china grass solution into the hot fruit puree, stirring all the while.Take off the heat.
Slowly add the fruit mixture into the yogurt and cheese mixture, stir in the sugar and vanilla extract and beat well with a wire whisk until well blended.
Pour this mixture over the prepared crust, level with a spoon and chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
For the Glaze:
2 packs of Strawberry flavored jelly & 1 cup of hot water
Melt the contents of the jelly pack in one cup of hot water and let it cool.
Pour half the mixture on the cheesecake and place fresh strawberry slices along the side of the pan.Put it back in the refrigerator to set well. this may take about 20 minutes. Pour the remaining liquid jelly over gently and allow it to set completely.
The cheesecake has a very mild shade of pink, and I used this Jelly just to give it a deep red color.
To demould, run a blunt knife through the sides of the pan. and carefully remove the ring of the springform pan. Slice and serve...:)
Thank you Swathi Iyer - Your choice of recipes for the Baking Partners has brushed my baking skills in many ways that I could have imagined.