Baked New York Cheesecake

October 27, 2010

Baked New York Cheesecake

Hands up who’s bought a cookbook, flicked through the pretty pictures, then not really cooked from it. Yep, me too. Our bookshelves start to groan with the weight of a thousand untasted recipes begging to be baked. One day. Someday.

And so, “Cooking the Books” was born for cookbook addicts. The aim is to assemble your friends for a feast based on the same cookbook, with each person preparing at least one dish. This way you get to taste a little bit of many dishes without having cooked them all yourself. Score!

Dreamed up by Kat of Urban Cook’s Journal, some food-loving friends in Melbourne met to cook our way through Jamie Oliver’s America. Filled with 120 recipes spanning entrees to desserts, these classic dishes define America from regions including New Orleans, New York and Los Angeles. Think Mac & Cheese, Meatballs, Cajun Alligator, Apple Pie, Red Velvet Cake and of course, a baked New York Cheescake.

When I saw the New York cheesecake photo I couldn’t resist the golden creamy insides flavoured with freshly squeezed lime juice and topped with peaks of sweet meringue. The flavour lived up to my expectations: the biscuit base has the perfect texture against the silky smooth creamcheese innards sweetened with just the right amount of sugar and a touch of lime, while the sweet meringue topping melts away in your mouth.

With just two cake-holes to feed in our house I’m careful to only bake treats that keep for several days. So I leaped at the chance to make a monster-of-a-cheesecake for once. This baked baby feeds over 12 people, and is definitely a special occasion treat, with almost 1kg of creamcheese in the recipe!! But lordy, is it tasty. Yes it is.

NY Baked Cheesecake

Serves 12-14

350g Digestive biscuits
120g Unsalted butter, melted
900g Cream cheese, softened (can use light or low-fat, but NOT fat-free)
150g Caster sugar
5 large eggs
125ml Fresh Lime juice (5-6 limes)

Meringue Topping:
3 large egg whites
110g Caster Sugar
40g Desiccated coconut (optional)
Zest of 1 lime, finely grated

DIRECTIONS:

Grease a 24cm springform tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs using either a food processor (lucky you) or by giving them a good whack with a rolling pin on a clean kitchen bench. It’s like free therapy for the stressed domestic goddess.

Add the melted butter to the bowl of crumbs and stir until all mixed together. Pour the biscuit mix into the greased tin and spread it evenly around the base only, packing it down firmly with your fingers. Make sure you pack it well around the edges. Place the tin into the fridge to set.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Dice up the cream cheese and beat until smooth, either by hand or by using a food processor or stand mixer. If the cream cheese is still too firm place the outside of the bowl in hot water to help soften the mix. Once the cheese is silky smooth, add the sugar gradually until all combined. Add each egg, mixing well after each addition. Pour in the lime juice and beat until just combined. The mixture will be quite thin and easily pourable. Take the biscuit base out of the fridge. Pour the cheesecake filling over the base and spread it around evenly, smoothing the top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes. The cheesecake should still have a slight loose wobble in the centre when you remove it. If in doubt, take it out I say. Leave it to cool while you make the meringue topping. Turn the oven up to 220 degrees Celsius. Put the egg whites into clean bowl with about 1/3 of the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. If you are using an electric whisk start on slow speed and very gradually increase the speed after a minute or two at each level. Once you have soft peaks, gradually add the remaining caster sugar and beat until the peaks are glossy. Gently fold in the coconut so you don’t lose any of the air you’ve worked so hard to beat into those egg whites!

Spoon the meringue onto the middle of the cooled cheesecake and spread it evenly across the surface using the back of the spoon. It’ll be about 2cm thick. You can jazz up the meringue by adding some swirls or spiky peaks by quickly daubing the surface with the back of your spoon. Bake for 5 minutes or until the meringue starts to turn golden and firm to the touch.

Let the cheesecake cool a little, then refrigerate in the tin for at least 2 hours to chill before serving. When ready to serve, carefully remove from the tin and sprinkle the freshly grated lime zest on the top. Slice yourself a nice chunk of new york cheesecake, served on its own or with fresh fruits like mango and strawberry and a cup of tea.


To see photos of the delicious dishes we baked from Jamie’s America, including Red Velvet Cupcakes, Mac n Cheese, Meatballs and Cornbread, see my Flickr stream. Read more about the feast at Iron Chef Shellie and why not grab Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Mountain Meatballs and a Killer Mac n’ Cheese while you’re visiting.

Jamie Oliver’s NYC Cheesecake: Text Version

350g Digestive biscuits
120g Unsalted butter, melted
900g Cream cheese, softened (can use light or low-fat, but NOT fat-free)
150g Caster sugar
5 large eggs
125ml Fresh Lime juice (5-6 limes)

Meringue Topping:
3 large egg whites
110g Caster Sugar
40g Desiccated coconut (optional)
Zest of 1 lime, finely grated

Grease a 24cm springform tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs using either a food processor or by giving them a good whack with a rolling pin on a clean kitchen bench. Add the melted butter to the bowl of crumbs and stir until all mixed together. Pour the biscuit mix into the greased tin and spread it evenly around the base only, packing it down firmly with your fingers. Make sure you pack it well around the edges. Place the tin into the fridge to set.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Dice up the cream cheese and beat until smooth, either by hand or by using a food processor or stand mixer. If the cream cheese is still too firm place the outside of the bowl in hot water to help soften the mix. Once the cheese is silky smooth, add the sugar gradually until all combined. Add each egg, mixing well after each addition. Pour in the lime juice and beat until just combined. The mixture will be quite thin and easily pourable.

Take the biscuit base out of the fridge. Pour the cheesecake filling over the base and spread it around evenly, smoothing the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes- the cheesecake should still have a slight loose wobble in the centre when you remove it. If in doubt, take it out I reckon. Leave it to cool while you make the meringue topping.

Turn the oven up to 220 degrees Celsius. Put the egg whites into clean bowl with about 1/3 of the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. If you are using an electric whisk start on slow speed and very gradually increase the speed after a minute or two at each level. Once you have soft peaks, gradually add the remaining caster sugar and beat until the peaks are glossy. Gently fold in the coconut so you don’t lose any of the air you’ve worked so hard to beat into those egg whites!

Spoon the meringue onto the middle of the cooled cheesecake and spread it evenly across the surface using the back of the spoon. It’ll be about 2cm thick. You can jazz up the meringue by adding some swirls or spiky peaks by quickly daubing the surface with the back of your spoon. Bake for 5 minutes or until the meringue starts to turn golden and firm to the touch.

Let the cheesecake cool a little, then refrigerate in the tin for at least 2 hours to chill before serving. When ready to serve, carefully remove from the tin and sprinkle the freshly grated lime zest on the top.

  • Anonymous

    nice work! :)

  • Anonymous

    nice work! :)

  • Appleandspice

    Wow that looks dreamy! Never seen a cheesecake with meringue on top but can imagine it goes wonderfully with the creamy cheesceake. Yum!

  • http://www.donutstodelirium.com heavenly housewife

    I am so guilty of buying cookbooks, drooling at the pictures, and not making a thing LOL. This cheese cake is a work of art daaaahling, you did Jamie Oliver proud.
    *kisses* HH

  • http://www.testwithskewer.blogspot.com shaz

    Whoa! 1kg of cream cheese? It looks very good though, and Cook the books sounds like such a fab idea. I actually don’t buy that many cookbooks but the magazine collection is threatening to collapse ;)

  • Scandifoodie

    I’ve got the exact same book! Some cookbooks are good for just reading and for inspiration (thinking this way won’t make me feel guilty for actually not trying any of the recipes)! This cheesecake looks perfect!

  • http://brownievillegirl.blogspot.com/ Brownievillegirl

    I am totally guilty of buying cookbooks and making only one dish from them!!!

    Cheesecake looks devine.

  • http://applesundermybed.blogspot.com Heidi – Apples Under My Bed

    Oh Emma this looks sooooooo yummy, and I’m not even a fan of cheesecake or Meringue! Maybe you just had me at Jamie Oliver. Yum!
    Heidi xo

  • http://imasugarjunkie.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    OK that looks like a seriously good cheesecake! And from the reports I’ve heard, it tasted awesome too!

  • betty

    looks great with the meringue on top :O)

  • http://diaryofaladybird.blogspot.com Ladybird

    MMmm nothing beats a good NYC cheesecake, and yours looks awesome :) Crikey though – 900g of cream cheese!

  • http://twitter.com/wayfaringchoc Hannah Terry-Whyte

    *whimpers* I’ve been craving cheesecake for weeks now, but have held off because I’m lactose intolerant and I know the pain is probably not worth the luxurious feel of cheesecake on my tongue.

    But this looks so good. Lime and meringue. And cheesecake. And lime and meringue. Darn you cakemistress! Why must you taunt me so? :D

  • msihua

    The lot of you are insane… in a good way I mean… gosh… I’m jealous! I want in on the next one!

  • Anonymous

    he he, thanks. The next one is on the 28th November if you’re interested. I can forward the details to you if you want.

  • http://www.diningwithastud.com Nic

    Wow! It looks so amazing :)
    I def know what you mean about the cookbooks though. I started my New Yers Recipe Resolution this year and have barely dented the collection haha

  • Foodessa

    Brava Emma…this is a stunning cheesecake.
    Now, why didn’t I ever think of putting meringue as a topping?

    My bookshelves need to get more support for all the weight my recipe book collection has put on it. LOL
    One day, some day is what I always tell myself also ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  • Cakelaw

    Cheesecake with meringue topping? I am so in! I own this book – and I have not made on thing out of it yet. Perhaps this cheesecake is the place to start!

  • http://emmainthekitchen.blogspot.com/ Emma

    Meringue on cheesecake – why have I not seen this before? This looks so lush :)

  • http://twitter.com/IronChefShellie Iron Chef Shellie

    oh yeah I want me another slice! Can’t wait to see what we eat at the next gathering!

  • http://www.ledelicieux.com Jennifer

    Your cooking the books group meet up sounds like a fantastic idea. I’ve definitely been guilty of buying cookbooks and then not really cooking from them.

    Like you, there are only 2 mouths to feed in my house so I am careful to bake things that will last a few days, either that or send them into work with my boyfriend as his fellow army guys will help to quickly gobble them up. I haven’t made cheesecake in so long though and your post has me craving me on. I will have to change that!

  • http://offthespork.com Agnes

    That looks insanely gorgeous. Love the specks of lime zest sprinkled on the top :)

  • Anonymous

    Ohmeegosh Thanh, you still had the cheesecake after a week?!! I admire your willpower and I’ll glad it’s still edible after a week, lol.

  • Anonymous

    Shame that you’re so far out of town to join us at Cooking the Books. If you’re heading into Melbourne, let us know so we can invite you down for the cookoff and eat-a-thon :)

  • Pingback: New York Baked Cheesecake Recipe: From Jamie Oliver’s America — The Cake Mistress « My Blog My Life

  • Ella

    Is it easy to remove the cheesecake from the base of the tin?

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