Cheats’ Baked Cheesecake

Move over cream cheese, I can make a baked cheesecake without you. Guys, this cheats’ baked cheesecake is EVERYTHING!!!!! Soft, creamy, melt in your mouth and moreish. You will want to make this every chance you get.

I’ll be honest. I absolutely was over the moon with the success of my real baked cheesecake. Then with some experimenting, I came up with this cheat’s baked cheesecake and now I can’t tell the difference between the two, you won’t either.

The biggest and only difference between my original baked cheesecake and this cheats’ version is the main ingredient, cream cheese As much as I am a sucker for cream cheese, sometimes it’s just hard to find. This cheats’ version needs the most easily available ingredients and is versatile when it comes to pairing with different flavours.

I’ve paired this baked cheesecake with mango, but can try the original blueberry filling, or try strawberries, raspberries, the options are many. Keeping it plain without a topping will also work out just as great. Trust me, the proof is in the pudding.

The Cheats’ Baked Cheesecake Secret Ingredient.

So what is this Cheats’ special and secret ingredient? It is …. DRUMROLL….. Hung Curd. Yes, you heard that right. Although not a replacement for cream cheese in every recipe that needs it, when it comes to a baked cheesecake, hung curd my friend can work wonders.

To make hung curd (this recipe needs 2 cups of it) use about 4 cups of regular curd. Put it in a muslin cloth and leave it over a strainer to drain for at least 2 hours. You can also leave it to strain overnight, in the fridge. I find this the best way to do it. This will drain out all the excess water and you will be left with thick curd to use to make the cheesecake.

Ingredients for the baked cheesecake:

The crust for this baked cheesecake is made with just two ingredients, the usual butter and biscuits. I generally use digestives or Marie biscuits, but go ahead and get creative. If you like adding chocolate to everything, you can use Oreos or any chocolate cream biscuits. Oatmeal biscuits are a good choice too. If of course, you have access to graham crackers, use those for a more traditional cheesecake crust.

For the filling, you need only 6 ingredients: Hung curd, condensed milk, lemon, eggs, cornflour and vanilla essence. Simple everyday ingredients to make only the tastiest cheesecake you ever had.

For the topping, you only need mangoes and sugar made into a reduction. You can make this topping with also blueberries, strawberries or leave the cheesecake plain

Making the cheesecake in a springform pan or a regular cake tin.

Although a Baked Cheesecake is traditionally made in a springform or a loose-bottomed tin, I chose to make this in a regular cake tin. Here’s why. This cheesecake is baked in a water bath, which means, you place the batter in a tin that goes in a larger tin filled with boiling water. This helps the steam to gently bake the cheesecake, similar to a steamed pudding.

Considering that you will have water all around your tin, you need to double line the springform pan, both on the inside and the outside. This ensures no water seeps into your cheesecake base. While this is definitely possible I just didn’t want to risk it.

Using a regular tin to make the cheesecake :

Here’s how you can make this baked cheesecake in a regular tin and still be able to take the cake out whole. Line the base of the tin with butter paper before you make the crust.

When the cheesecake is ready to be served, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake. Overturn the tin onto a flat base like a chopping board, tap it on the bottom to release the cheesecake from the pan. Immediately turn it over again onto your serving board, this way you have the crust at the bottom and the filling on the top.

Resting the cheesecake before serving:

While the cheesecake itself will take just close to an hour to bake, it definitely needs a lot of time to cool and set. I find it best to bake the cheesecake at night and let it rest overnight.

Once the cheesecake has cooked, let it sit in the oven, in the water bath, until it completely cools down. This will ensure it doesn’t sink when it’s taken out of the oven. If it does, worry not, the topping will find a nice place to sit in. Once the cheesecake cools down completely, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, even overnight if possible. This will help it set well.

You can put the topping on the cheesecake before you put it in the fridge or just before serving. Either will work just fine.

Serving the cheesecake plain or with a filling:

You can serve this cheesecake plain, with just the lemon flavour. Another way of adding a lot of pop to this cheesecake is to serve it with fresh strawberries. Lemon curd is also a great option or any fruit preserve.

I’ve added a simple recipe for serving this baked cheesecake with a mango topping. Mangoes are in season and this topping is hardly any effort. You can make the same reduction with strawberries as well. This cheesecake tastes just as heavenly without any fruit topping as well.

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Cheats’ Baked Cheesecake with Mangoes :

Ingredients:

For the crust:

250 gms digestive biscuits

75 gms butter, melted

For the filling:

2 cups hung curd

1 tin (400gms) condensed milk

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tbsp cornflour

For the Mango topping :

1 ripe mangoe, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp sugar

(Alternatively, you can top with fresh strawberries or lemon curd)

Method:

To make the crust :

  • Start by lining an 8 inch round tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Powder the biscuits either by using a rolling pin or by pulsing the biscuits in a food processor.
  • Add the powdered biscuits in a bowl with the melted butter. Mix using a spoon, till you have a mixture that resembles crumbs.
  • The mixture should just about come together. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more powdered biscuit.
  • Tip the biscuit mixture into the prepared cake tin, pressing the mixture all over the base and slightly on the sides.
  • Let the tin rest in the fridge as you get the filling ready.

To make the filling :

  • Preheat the oven to 150 C.
  • In a large bowl, add the hung curd and whip it slightly using a whisk.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the filling to the hung curd. Using a whisk, gently combine all the ingredients until there are no lumps in the mixture. Do not overmix.
  • Pour this mixture gently over the chilled biscuit base.
  • The cheesecake has to be baked in a water bath.
  • To make the water bath, place the cake tin in a larger square baking tin. Fill up the larger tin with boiling water, taking care not to let water spill into the cheesecake mixture.
  • Gently place the tin in the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 50 -60 minutes.
  • When the cheesecake is done about an hour later, it will still have a little bit of a wobble in the centre. Turn off the oven.
  • Leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly open till the cake cools completely.
  • Then transfer it to the fridge to rest for a minimum of 4 hours and preferably overnight.

To make the topping :

  • Place all the ingredients for the topping in a saucepan. While stirring continuously, let it simmer on a medium flame for 15 minutes.
  • Take it off the pan and let it cool completely before you pour it over the chilled cheesecake.
  • This topping is completely optional.

To serve the cheesecake :

  • When the cheesecake is ready to be served, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake.
  • Overturn the tin onto a flat base like a chopping board, tap it on the bottom to release the cheesecake from the pan.
  • Immediately turn it over again onto your serving board, this way you have the crust at the bottom.
  • If you’ve made the mango topping, pour it all over the filling.
  • Alternatively, you can serve it with fresh fruit or lemon curd.

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