Cheesecakes are a favourite dessert for a lot of people, including me. I like them plainly classic or with blueberries. My first introduction to cheesecake was around 15 years ago when my then neighbour Malar ( and always a close friend) had requested her husband, Nathan, to get the famous New York Cheesecake for me. It was creamy, light and so heavenly. I was hooked. Then, I remember years ago we had a small birthday celebration for a friend ( for those who hv read my earlier blog posts - it was for Supermom actually) who had just turned 40 at a Cheesecake Cafe near our house in the East of Singapore. It was a beautifully decorated cafe - very Victorian with fountains and statues. And of course, the cheesecakes were to die for!! When I returned from America 2 years ago, I found out, with much dismay, that it had closed down. Now, where would I get my cheesecake fix?
I came across some fun facts about our fav dessert... Did you know that the first cheesecakes may have been created in the Greek island of Samos? There were considered to be a good source of energy and were served to athletes in the first Olympic Games in 776 BC. Instead of all the complicated recipes of today - they just used flour, wheat, honey and cheese! Then, the Romans conquered Greece and modified the recipe to include eggs, cooked it over a hot brick and served it warm. They brought this modified Cheesecake recipe to Europe. The version we see today was not created till the 18th Century and adding cream cheese was an American addition to the cake.
Enough history. Having a no bake simple cheesecake recipe on hand will always prove useful. Using very few ingredients and inolving no baking, you can come up with this dessert in no time. This particular version is rather unique in that the base has a crunchy bite because of the addition of demerara sugar and the whole cheesecake comes together quite tastefully. On the other hand, if you prefer a sugarless base (I understand, there is enough sugar in the cheesecake filling), do it without the demerara. I have used a flat 10 inch pie pan which gave me rather thin slices but if you prefer a higher thicker cheesecake, do use a pie pan or a sprinform pan with a smaller diameter (8 inches). I promise - this is a keeper! :)
Ingredients (for 8 thin slices)
100gm Digestive biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs
50gm demerara sugar (optional)
50gm butter, melted
150gm icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
500gm Philadelphia cream cheese (2 blocks)
200ml Creme Fraiche (or double cream)
1) First, line your pie pan or springform pan with baking paper. This helps to lift the cheesecake from the sides easily.
2) Get the melted butter and crushed digestive biscuits ready and place them in a mixing bowl. If you are using demerara sugar, add now. Mix everything well.
3) Then, spread it out onto the prepared pie pan and flatten it out using the back of a metal spoon or a palette knife. Refrigerate in the freezer section for an hour.
4) Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Get the ingredients ready. From the top, block cream cheese, creme fraiche, vanilla essence and icing sugar.
5) Do note that the actual filling prepration should only be done half an hour before the time to take out the chilled base from the freezer. Whisk the icing sugar, vanilla essence and cream cheese first. Then whip the cream fraiche/double cream seperately and add it to the icing sugar mix. Fold it in using a wooden spoon, mixing well.
6) After an hour, take the chilled base from the freezer and spread the cream cheese filling onto it and even it out. Make sure there are no air bubbles. Chill for another hour in the freezer and its ready to be served.
7) Cut into desired number of slices and enjoy! If you are serving this in a party, keep bowls of blueberries or raspberries in sauce nearby so your guests can have it plain or with fruit on top.