I give you a recipe for cheesecake crumble.
According to the fussy people in my house, this cake is Da Bizness. I tend to agree.
Before I start, I must point out a small, yet significant detail: we are NOT talking about Philadelphia cream cheese or a dense, New-York-style cheesecake. This is a German-style cheesecake you make with Quark, which is a kind of cream cheese you get in every supermarket on the continent, but which in the past has been a little more difficult to find in Ireland and the UK. It’s been marketed as “Jockey” by Danone, and I have heard you can get that kind of cream cheese in Lidl and Aldi because they are German shops.
It also comes with different percentages of fat content, like milk. There are usually three versions: full-fat, half-fat, and 0%. The labeling changed a little while ago, in essence to trick the consumer into thinking they are buying healthier food. Full fat used to be labelled 40% and now reads 7.7%, half-fat was 20% and now reads 3.3%. Zero is still zero. (The difference is that they used to measure the fat content on a dehydrated sample of the product and they now measure it on a “wet” product as is. The difference is therefore due to the amount of water contained in cream cheese.) The product itself has not changed.
What’s the difference? Fat carries taste, which is why fatty stuff tastes good and is bad for us, and many things that are not fat and that are good for us, don’t taste so nice. Also, there is proportionally more water in a “light” dairy product, so a richer Quark will give you a slightly denser cheesecake.
If you can’t get Quark/”Jockey”, you could try thick Greek yoghurt (but Quark is not fermented, whereas yoghurt is). Have I lost you?
What you need for the base/crumble:
175g butter (unsalted)
1 sachet vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
1 pinch of salt
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder (pass through a sieve to avoid lumps)
What you need for the filling:
1kg of cream cheese (again, NOT Philadelphia)
1 sachet vanilla sugar
1 egg white
2 generous tablespoons of corn flour (Maizena)
the zest and juice of one lemon (untreated)
- Mix all the ingredients and HALF the flour with a mixer
- Add the second half of the flour and rub into a crumb-like texture with your hands.
- Set aside
- Mix all the ingredients with a whisk or an electric beater (try not to get too much on the ceiling, though).
- FYI: No need to whip the egg whites!
- Set aside
To assemble the lot:
- Line the base of a spring-form baking tin with baking parchment by jamming it in between the ring and the base and closing it. (It’s the easiest. No trimming, just clamp it.)
- With your fingers, sprinkle a thin layer of crumbed dough onto the base and press flat until it covers the entire surface.
- Again, with your fingers, take little handfuls of crumbed dough and pull up a 1 inch “wall” around the outside rim of your cake dish. This will be thin, too, and only just hold up by itself. Make sure you keep back enough crumbed dough to cover the top of your cake.
- Pour the filling into the dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining dough crumbs over the top of the filling until it is completely covered. You do not need to press or pat… Just sprinkle them over the surface until you can see no more Quark.
- Bake at 180 degrees C for an hour, an hour and ten minutes. The crumbly top should be golden, but not burnt (obviously). If necessary, lower the temperature by 10 degrees.
- Test: If you lightly shake the baking dish and the centre of the cake seems wobbly, give it another ten minutes and check again. The centre should be reasonably set before you take the cake out. You can’t really over-bake this cake, so better go for ten minutes more than ten minutes less.
- Let cool completely in the baking dish. Slide a knife around the outside before opening the spring of the rim. It will hold together perfectly and you can display it on a pretty cake platter, not like an apple crumble!
This cake is best the day after, because letting it cool completely and even refrigerating it overnight will allow it to set better and hold itself together when you cut it. Which explains why my photo is less than perfect: my fabulously patient (NOT) family attacked the cheesecake crumble when it was still lukewarm.