Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Mother's Cheesecake. Definitely the Best Ever.

1250 g of "Quark" (that is the type of cottage cheese that is not crumbly and not very fat. It's consistency is a little like humous, i.e.mashed chickpeas. Ricotta can be used but it's not exactly like Quark and the result is not quite as good.)

250 g of unsalted butter

4 - 6 eggs ( I always use 6)

1 pack of Dr Oetker Original Vanilla Sugar. Many supermarkets carry it. German delicatessen stores most likely have it. ("Normal vanilla extract" is not really a good substitute but if you must use it, use very little.)

2 - 3 tablespoons of Mondamin (another German product). Ordinary corn starch is a good substitute.

1 pack of Dr Oetker Baking Powder, or about 1 teaspoon of the baking powder you have at home. (I use a 'generous', i.e. not quite heaping, teaspoon of the Magic Baking Powder brand when I don't have Dr Oetker's.)

Mix all the ingredients, except for the "Quark" with a hand held electric beater on fairly slow speed. Do not use a blender as it will liquify the ingredients. Then add the "Quark" and finally the baking powder.

You absolutely need a baking tin with a removable bottom. (They are widely available but most definitely in some German delicatessen stores.) With the above quantities I use one which has a diameter of 24 cm ( 9 and a half inches) and a height of 6.5 cm (2 and a half inches).

Put the ingredients in the tin and then into the preheated oven of about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Don't open the oven door for at least an hour. If your door has a window don't open it at all until the colour has changed to a light brown. The cake is likely to rise way above the top of the baking tin. (It depends a little on how much baking powder you used and its strength.) When the cake is done it will have a light to medium-brown colour on the top. Stick a thin skewer or something like this in it. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

Leave it inside the oven after switching it off with the door just slightly ajar (8 to 10 inches). It will settle down and you might want to open the clamp of the baking tin after 15 or 20 minutes so that the cake can settle down inside the baking tin. You will see when it gets down to that level. Almost close the door again to prolong the cooling down process.

After it has cooled down resist the temptation to eat some right away. You will enjoy it much more after it has been inside the fridge for a night. It's best to leave it on the bottom of the baking tin but with a lot of care and perhaps the kind of spatula you use when taking fried eggs out of the pan you can put it on a more attractive plate without ruining it.

It's an expensive cake. But what a treat! If you make it you'll agree it's the best you've ever had.


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