I have been offline for quite a few days as I mentioned in my recent post on Onam's Special Vermecilli Milk Pudding. Mama Mary's Birthday falls on September 8th. The Virgin Mother Mary as we affectionately call her Mama Mary is a proud celebration in our home everyday. Especially because my daughter Izzy inherited her baptismal name Mary from her Godma and ever since she was a baby we have noticed how she has been drawn to Mama Mary. She calls her fondly as Ammama (which is our native language means Mother of my mother). Rightly said by a little one! Mama Mary is definitely her patron saint! September 8th is celebrated as the Nativity of our Virgin Mother or the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. If you would like to learn more, please visit this link
|Mama Mary's Birthday Love Cheesecake|
We had been fasting for 7 days prior to the Nativity Feast and I wanted to do something special for her birthday. So I decided to bake her a cake full of love. I had posted a Cheesecake recipe of George Colambaris, one that I had made on A's birthday last July. Well this is a less complicated one and is more in line with the cheesecakes I have made since I was all of 18 yrs old. I think George made a reference to this type of 'cake base' in the MC Australia when he made his unforgettable Cheesecake.
For those of you in India, please do not be tempted to buy Amul's Cheddar Cheese as it turns out to be too salty and if you have no other option, then do add an additional cup of cream to the cheese mix. Try to get the uncanned variety of cheddar cheese that you could get from Godrej's Nature basket or Spar or some such other outlet that sells loose cheddar cheese. These varieties normally have less salt in the mix. You can also opt for the imported Kraft in case you are opting for the canned variety
- 300 gms of cheddar cheese (grated)
- 250 gms of Ricotta Cheese
- 400 gms of fresh full cream or whipping cream (if you are using one with less fat%, try not to add the loosened water that settles at the base of the pack. Also try to get gelatine and use as per package instructions if required)
- 500 gms of powdered sugar or castor sugar
- 1 packet of your choice of packaged jelly powder (I used raspberry, you can favour your choice of flavour)
- 1 large packet of Marie Biscuits (break each biscuit into quarters)
- 400 gms of butter (room temperature, cut into cubes)
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 8-10 blanched almonds - chopped finely (optional)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes| Cooking Time: 20 minutes| Serves 6-8 adults
- Powder the quartered biscuits. In case you have a food processor or a grinder, you can use this to powder the biscuits. Otherwise, just place some of the biscuit quarters in the middle of a newspaper and fold the newspaper. Run a rolling pin over the biscuits. Check to see if the biscuits are powdered well and no lumps are present. Repeat this until all the biscuits have been powdered and set aside in a large bowl.
- Add about 100 gms of the sugar to the biscuit mix and mix well (either by hand or with a spoon). Add the butter cubes bit by bit into the biscuit mix and mix well. You will wind up with a rough edges but well-oiled biscuit mix. If you think it is still very dry, add some more butter but do ensure it is not too oily or runny. Tip: Do not melt the butter over heat
- Choose a cake tray of a size that will ensure that the biscuit mix once pressed and set at the bottom of the cake tray, will provide at least 1/2" or 1" height. A 7.5" to 8" round cake tin should suffice. I used a heart-shaped tin of 8.5" as I did not have a smaller tin of the same shape. Grease the base (in case you are using a spring cake tin) or line first with foil only on the base (not sides) and then with double-sheets of parchment paper/butter paper so as to enable to pick it out of the tray easily once done. I would recommend with cheesecakes to invest in a spring cake tray (I need to get one for myself as well) as the edge gets uneven even if you use parchment paper.
|Biscuit base on parchment paper|
- Now place the biscuit mix on the base of the tin evenly and press down. I normally do not bake the base but you can bake it for at least 15 minutes if you want a golden brown crust at medium heat about 215°C (415°F). Once this is done, leave it to cool to room temperature and turn it to the refrigerator at normal temperature. Ensure that your fridge is not set on high or your biscuit base would be too hard.
- Next turn the grated cheddar cheese to a blender and add the ricotta, vanilla and cream. Blend for about 3-4 beats on medium setting. Do not over beat or you will end up with a runny mixture. Tip: please keep a packet of gelatine handy in case you end up with a runny mix. The cheese mix should be slightly less thick than a normal flour based cake mix. Gently fold in the remaining sugar bit by bit into the cheese mix. Taste the mix if it is too salty, add another cup of cream. It should only be a tad salty or it will overpower the cake and make it difficult to consume. After all a dessert should be more sweet or bitter than salty any day.
- Take out the cake tray from the fridge and layer it with the cheese topping. Top with chopped almonds. Return it to the fridge to set on a higher setting(not highest).
- After about 20-30 minutes, when the cheese topping is firm, prepare the jelly mix and allow it to arrive at room temperature and add it on top of the cheese mix. Tip: Please be careful to ensure that the jelly mix is not hot or set otherwise you will end up with the cheese of the jelly's colour or a lumpy topping. Since I was making a heart shaped cake, I wanted a layered topping and hence I had placed the jelly in the fridge to set first and then I scooped it out with a flat spoon and layered it on top of the cake to give a more 3-D heart image.
- Return it to the fridge on normal setting until ready to serve. Once ready to serve, slowly lift the parchment paper, taking care to ensure that it does not tear. You will need a cake spatula so as to remove parchment paper from the base and carefully place it on your serving tray/cake board. Tip: To avoid this please invest in a spring tray.
- You can top the cake slices with whip cream while serving if you like.
|Closeup of the cake|
|Special Love Cheesecake|