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Friday, May 22, 2009

Cheesecake capers

I've always had a sweet tooth, and whenever I go to a buffet, the space for my entree (North American usage strictly) is usually reserved for the dessert section. Of late, I've been trying my hand at cooking a little bit, with my mum's help and under her supervision of course. She's really really good at cooking, and tries out whatever they show on television. Feeling the need to excel at least at making what I love to gulp down, I decided to focus upon the sweet stuff.

Among my adventures (the initial attempt at chocolate mousse was of course a misadventure - a tad too much butter) are various types of chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, the aforementioned mousse (though made properly later), white sauce (I know this one ain't sweet but it did taste damn good).

The latest one, a few days back, was a three layer cheesecake. This was based on a recipe I'd seen on a TV channel. The top layer in their version was a jelly-like layer which made use of egg-whites for added flavour. I swapped this layer out for another one. Read on for details.


  • Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
  • Two Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Gelatin (No, I don't mean the stuff you use to blow things up)
  • Butter
  • Condensed milk (I used MilkMaid)
  • A big pack or two of Marie biscuits
  • Custard powder and Caramel

A springform pan would be of very good use in this venture as well as for a number of other desserts. It'll help cakes come out with smooth and proper edges. Of course you could improvise without one too (I did). Anyway, on to the main event.

The base
Break and powder a large number of marie biscuits using a mixer. This is then heated in a pan with 4 tablespoons of butter. Smear some butter on d bottom of the vessel (read: springform pan) you'll be using to .... let's say "assemble" the cheesecake. After mixing the butter and biscuit powder well (while heating), it is made into a layer on the base of this vessel. Press this powder down gently but firmly till it becomes thick and you can be sure that the next layer won't drip down through it. Put the springform pan in the freezer for 15-20min to let it set.

The Madness in the middle
The middle layer has to be the thickest - its gonna be real cheesy, and in a good way mind you.

First take some gelatin powder(not the usual jelly powder). Melt around 2 tablespoons of it by double boiling in water in a pan and let the resulting liquid cool.
Break 2 eggs and keep the egg yellow aside. Some of you pure vegetarians might be doing it without the eggs, If you do, please do tell me how it goes.
400g of sugar is powdered using the mixer.

Again 400g of paneer is taken. Use a mixer to crush/cut this up into smaller pieces. To the paneer in the mixer, 400g of condensed milk is added.
Add the powdered sugar in its entirety. Add the egg yellow too. Pour in the liquid gelatin. Now mix this gradually but well in the mixer till it becomes a sort of paste.

Take the pan you had earlier put in the freezer out and pour this cheesy paste onto the set layer of biscuit. Mmmmmm Mmmmmmm.... Put this back in the freezer for around half an hour.
Remember, until now, the pan you're using must be able to hold everything layer by layer, the height must be sufficient.

You can stop at this itself if you want just a cheesecake and you're not really interested in what goes above it. But having another layer on top gives it a more complex look.

On top of what you have (which should have been set by now):

  • Option 1 (as in the original recipe on TV): Consider this - Take orange juice or mango juice mixed with the white of egg (which was set aside earlier). Then add gelatin to it. Mix well. Now pour it onto the middle layer and let it set again in the freezer.

  • Option 2: You can innovate/improvise the way you wish. How about adding a layer of thick chocolate pudding and let it set (yeah, use a wee bit of gelatin to help it along) . Or you could prepare some caramel custard n use that for a top layer (like I did).

I'll say this again, its very handy to have a springform pan in which to set the entire thing layer by layer, since you can just remove the sides of the pan once you're done setting the layers. Not absolutely necessary though.

After the thing is relatively stable, shift it out of the freezer and into the fridge. Let it stay there for a few hours before you cut it and taste the goodness. Feedback on how the recipe tasted is welcome, but I know I won't be getting any as always. Below is a picture of my creation, you can clearly see the layers. This of course, was the last remaining piece. So i took a picture of it before feasting upon this cheesy delight.

Still if someone manages to make it and taste it (apart from me), I'll be pleased. Though some might be averse to the slightly powdery biscuit layer, I just loved the whole cheesecake!!!

Further adventures beckon me, albeit the delay I ascribe to the scarcity of whipped cream or heavy whipping cream in our beloved India. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE YOU COULD GET IT!!!???!?


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