Monday, October 25, 2010

Best Recipe Ever - Nichole's Cheesecake

I love cheesecake. But not the cake-y kind that remind you of a bunt cake, and definitely not the instant no-bake kind that resemble a flan. No. For me, a real cheesecake is pure CHEESE! And everybody knows I love cheese. My hubby always jokes that the reason we moved to France was to save money on our family cheese purchases. Real cheese is dessert in itself, and a real cheesecake should be dense, moist, with a perfect creamy crumble like a real cheese. If you like The Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes, you're going to love this recipe.

As soon as I realized I could make my own cheese, my love for cheesecake grew leaps and bounds. I'm probably the only Parisian making my own cheese in my shoe-box sized latin quarter apartment... :) But that's me. A little quirky, I know. If you want to replace the homemade cheese with Philly Cream Cheese, be my guest, you'll need 2 lbs.

I've been working on this recipe for 4 years. As I type this entry, I have before me, my notes in shorthand on a tattered paper stained many times by the recipe it spells out. This will be my second attempt to type it out...

Nichole's Cheesecake
Preparation : 1 heure
Cook time : 1 heure 15 minutes
Waiting time : 1 heure au four, 24 heures au frigo
Makes about 20 pieces

12 C (3L) milk
2 tsp salt
5 tbsp white vinegar
1 pkg of graham crackers (1.5 C crumbs)
1/3 C melted butter
- - - or - - -
1 C (150g) butter cookies or shortbread
1/2 C (50g) gingerbread cookies
1/3 C (83g) melted butter
1 pkg (250g) marscapone cheese
1 1/3 C (230g) sugar
6 eggs
1/3 C (60g) flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 fresh lemon
1 tub (50cl) crème fraîche or sour cream

In a large pot bring 12 C milk + 2 tsp of salt to a boil.

At the first sign of bubbles add the 5 tsp of vinegar. Stir, if the curds separate from the whey, then take it off the heat and don't touch it for two hours. (If the curds and whey do not immediately appear continue heating and add more vinegar until they begin to separate, then remove from the heat.) Once the separating process has begun, it will continue on it's own.

I have tried to cheat and only let the cheese set for a half an hour before straining it, but I only got half as much cheese! The longer it sets the more curds it creates. So let it set while you go do something else. :)

After two hours you'll need to strain your cheese, catching all the curds and allowing all the whey to drain out. To do this you'll need a cheesecloth or a fine weave linen tea towel. Line your colander with this cloth and slowly pour the cold curds and whey into the middle of the cloth. Then when all the curds are piled up on the cloth, pull up each of the four corners and grab them with one fist, grab the bulging towel full of curds on the other end with your other hand and twist. Twist, Twist, Twist. When no more whey is dripping, or if the curds start squirting through your towel, unwrap the cheese into a very large mixing bowl. You should have about 2 lbs (900g) of cheese. (more about Fresh Homemade Soft Cheese here)

Open the cheesecake pan, remove the walls and place the bottom on a flat surface. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and reattach the walls overtop leaving the parchment paper sticking out on all sides.

Crush your cookie crumbs for the crust. Melt the butter in a small pan, add the crumbs to the melted butter and stir until all of the crumbs are evenly coated. Spread the crumbs evenly on the bottom of the prepared cheesecake pan.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C).
Mix the ingredients in the following order with an electric mixer on the lowest speed.
First mix the fresh homemade soft cheese with the marscapone until it's 'as fluffy as it will get'.

Then add the sugar little by little, continue mixing until it's creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg.
Then add the flour, vanilla, zest of the lemon, then juice the lemon and add the juice as well.

Add the sour cream (crème fraîche) and mix well.
Pour the batter into the cheesecake pan.

Place it on a high rack in the middle of the oven, leave at least two centimeters space between it and the heating elements because this cake will rise while cooking.

Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. I cover my cheesecake half way through the cooking time with aluminum foil. Too early and it will stick to the cake, but if I don't cover it get's dark.

Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open with an oven mitt and let the cheesecake sit in the hot oven another hour. When you take the cheesecake out of the oven, you should allow it to cool completely before refrigerating it. If it chills too quickly it will crack. Let it refrigerate 24 hours before serving it. Cheesecake is always best after it marinates in the fridge for a while. Bon Appetit.

Cheesecake de Nichole

Préparation : 1 heure
Cuisson : 1 heure 15 minutes
Temps d’attente : 1 heure au four, 24 heures au frigo
Fait environ 20 parts

3L lait
2 càc sel
5 càs vinaigre d'alcool
100g petit beurre
100g spéculos
83g beurre (1/3 d'une plaquette)
1 pkg marscapone (250g)
230 g sucre
6 oeufs
60 g farine
2 càc extrait de vanille
1 citron
1 pkg crème fraîche (50cl)

3 L lait + 2 càc de sel porté à ébullition
Ajouter 5 càs de vinaigre d'alcool
Laisser refroidir et passer à étamine
(fait 900g de fromage)

Détacher le fond du moule à cheese-cake et placer le tout seul sur le plan de travail. Couvrir le du papier cuisson. Attacher le cylindre du moule à cheese-cake au fond en laissant le papier cuisson déborde de tous les côtés.

Écraser les gâteaux secs. Mélanger les avec le beurre fondu. Étaler au fond du moule.

Préchauffer le four à 170°C.
Mélanger les ingrédients dans l’ordre suivant avec un mixer électrique – vitesse première
D’abord, mélanger le fromage fait maison et le marscapone jusqu’à Léger. (until fluffy)
Ajouter le sucre petit à petit, continue à mélanger jusqu’au crémeux.
Ajouter les oeufs une à la fois, mélanger après chaque oeuf.
Ajouter le farine, la vanille, le zeste et le jus du citron.
Ajouter la crème fraîche et mélanger bien.
Verser le tout (sur la pâte) dans le moule à cheese-cake.
Placer sur l’étage haut du four en laissant une marge de deux centimètres. Il gonfle, mais pas beaucoup.
Faire cuire pour 1 heure 15 minutes. Je couvre le cheese-cake du papier aluminium la deuxième mi-temps.
Eteindre le four. Supporter la porte du four ouvert de quelques centimètres à l’aide d’une manique, et laisser le cheese-cake au four éteint une heure de plus.
Sortir le cheese-cake du four à refroidir entièrement puis laisser le se fait au réfrigérateur 24 heures avant de le servir.


  1. You are a goddess...... thank you for this!!

  2. Olalalalala ça a l'air suuuuuuuupeeeeeeeer bon ! J'aimerais savoir combien de temps tu peux conserver ton cheesecake après ? (parce que ça fait de grosses quantités et je ne pense pas tout manger d'un coup...) est-ce que tu penses qu'on peut congeler des parts pour toujours en avoir une lors d'une subite envie ? :D

  3. @Romy - Mon cheesecake vieillira plus comme un fromage qu'un gateau. Ceci dit ... je ne le garderai pas plus d'une semaine dans le frigo. En revanche, il vit bien un séjour au congèle. Certains, il y compris ma mère, préfèrent le cheesecake en dessert glacé.