A cheesecake is perhaps the most calorific version of dessert Nirvana on this earth. And hence, by definition, it does not happen to me everyday. I make sure it better not 😀 ! But when it does, it leaves me in a state so blissful, only my sense of taste is left alive. I take a bite and it makes me go mmmmm, close my eyes, spread a smile and feel like I am floating. Which is funny, considering each bite ups my body weight by approximately 300 lbs !!! :DD
And while most cheesecakes have a crust and use heavy cream, I seem to love the sour cream crustless version . I have never really been a crust fan (no wonder I bake pies and tarts so rarely) and using sour cream instead of heavy cream gives the cheesecake a tang that I absolutely love. It also offsets the super sweetness of the cake. I could have picked up any recipe from any dessert expert except that something so simple and classy needs a chef who focuses on the technique and ingredients to ensure a great quality. So I turned to one of my favorite food blog writers, Joe Pastry. I have used his basic cheesecake recipe (with instructions) adapting it to add the mango flavor and glaze decor. Joe not only gives you a great recipe but most importantly teaches you the inner workings that enable you to create a terrific product time and again.
While I used mango since I loveeeeee that fruit and also because it adds very well in many desserts, you can feel free to substitute any fruit puree of your choice, melted chocolate or caramel sauce. I used a 10″ springform pan and easily got enough slices for a party of 15-16. Remember, this is a super rich dessert, so a little goes a long way.
18 Oz cream cheese
7 Oz sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
24 Oz sour cream (you can also use heavy cream, or any combination of the two)
8-10 Oz of canned mango puree (available in specialty food/wholefoods/Indian grocery stores in us). The amount is not hard and fast and you may vary it. This is apprx how much I used and somehow it turned out pretty perfect. Alternatively, you can puree 3-4 medium sized ripe mangoes with 3-4 tbsp of sugar and use that for the recipe. Make sure to set aside the reserve amount of puree for the glaze.
3 tbsp warm water
1 tsp gelatin crystals
5 tbsp of mango puree
Preparing the Cake Pan:
Bring all ingredients to room temperature before you start. Preheat oven to 350 Degree F.
Prepare your pan as per the instructions. This will take longer than the usual ‘spray-the-pan-with-butter-flour-spray’ but it is an extremely important step to ensure your cheesecake turns out perfect. Trace out the inner diameter of a 10″ springform pan on a parchment pan and cut it accordingly. Then cut out a long strip of parchment paper (or multiple short strips of so as not to waste paper) that is 2-3 inches in height depending on the height of the sides of your pan. Line the base and sides/banks of the pan with the cut out strips. To make sure that the parchment paper does not get dislodged spray/grease the surface before putting the paper on and then spray the paper surface again, lightly, especially the sides.
Next you’ll also need to have the elements of a water bath nearby: a shallow pan big enough to hold the cake pan, plus a tea kettle or pan of water set over heat. You’ll also need some tin/aluminium foil to create a “boat” for the cake pan. Tear out at least 3 sheets of foil large enough to completely cover the base of the pan and extend out to fold protectively along the sides. Put them one over the other in a criss-cross fashion to make a ‘boat’ for the pan. This prevents water from seeping into the pan. The better ‘boat you make, the better you keep water seepage out :D. Place the prepped pan in the center of the ‘boat’ and fold the foil sides up. Check to make sure there is no way water can seep in.
Preparing the Cake Batter:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, combine cream cheese, sugar and salt and beat on medium speed for about four minutes until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the vanilla and mix for another 30 seconds. Now one at a time, beat in the eggs and mix for another minute or so. As always, make sure you scrape the bowl at least once or twice every time you beat in something to ensure a perfectly mixed batter. Turn the mixer down to medium-low and add the sour cream in scoops. Scrape and stir and mix until all is combined. Pour half of the cake mixture into the prepared pan. Pour the puree evenly on the cake mixture and marble it out using a fork to stir in the puree a bit. Pour the rest of the cake mixture. Put the cake pan into the water bath pan and, place it on a center rack in the oven. Carefully pour in enough simmering water to come about half way up the sides of the cake pan. Close the oven door and bake for 50-60 minutes. Turn off the oven and — without opening the oven door — let the cheesecake bake for one more hour as the oven cools. Take the cheesecake out of the oven (it should be slightly jiggly but not at all soupy in the center), cool it on a rack for another hour, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator overnight. The glazing part can and should be done once it has chilled overnight.
Mix the gelatin in the warm water until it dissolves. Then pour in the puree in the gel mixture and mix till it dissolves smoothly (no lumps). Pour this mixture on the cheesecake and spread it evenly and smoothly till it covers the surface of the cake completely. Now chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and the glaze will set perfectly. Decorate it as you please (whipped cream, contrast colored fruits, mango slices etc).
If you absolutely need to have a crust then you can coarsely crush some cookies (I used chocolate wafer cookies I that had at home but I’d say vanilla cookies or normal biscuits would work fine too) and use it to cover the base as well as the sides (hides cracks :D). And if you are using it to build a base crust then make sure to apply the crushed cookies on the base before you put it on the serving base and adding on the glaze !!!