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I'm looking for a simple cheesecake recipe

 
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I have an excess of frozen homemade cream cheese...strained raw milk yogurt.  It's delicious as is but I thought I could try to make a dessert with it.

So, I have good sugar and some eggs...maybe a crust from some very plain tinned sugar cookies we were given? And pecans?

Isn't cheesecake basically cream cheese and eggs and sugar?
I've never made one.

Spice wise we have some cardamon and anise.....
Our weekly fresh milk comes tomorrow and it has a lot of cream I could use.

Thanks for any recipes!

 
pollinator
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Okay, I'm going to give you a link to one I've been using as my go-to cheesecake for 5+ years. It looks a bit complicated but it is easy to strip down to a very simple, tasty and almost no-fail version. I'll cover a few of the cheats I use for it.
Nanaimo cheesecake

So, you can do the whole thing and end up with something that is a great version of the classic Nanaimo bar, but you don't have to.
First, we love this crust but you can just go for the same amount of crushed Oreo crumbs ( off brand packaged Oreo style crumbs are all good) to replace the graham, add the nuts and coconut and half the listed butter. ( skip the sugar, cocoa and vanilla) Mix together and press into the bottom and there is no need to prebake it. Just cook with the filling.
If you want a more traditional one then it will work with the standard plain graham crumb version.

As for the filling, that is the winning ratio, at least for us. You can use different cream cheeses, cut the sugar back, you can swap out the sour cream for yogurt or you can add some flavoured extracts like vanilla, almond or lemon peel. It will still work. The trick is the custard powder. It stabilizes the whole thing and allows for lots of variances. I never ever even bother with the water bath! It just goes right into a regular oven.  I'm pretty sure you could even skip the crust and it would not be too wet thanks to the cornstarch and other stuff in the powder.
The notes mention that you can sub in the pudding mix that needs cooking and I agree that it should work too, if you can't get the Birds powder. ( you could also use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of pure cornstarch instead too and I expect that would do the same job)

This will horrify some purists due to the slight textural changes, but I love how easy and reliable it is.

The chocolate topping in the recipe is good, but any thick jam or sauce is lovely as well. I typically do the simple chocolate crust version described above, some almond extract added to the filling and then top it with sour cherry sauce from our tree.

 
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Hi Dian - thanks for sharing your secrets! As far as I'm concerned, as long as the ingredients are good, there are no cheats in cooking - it's the results that counts and if it saves time/money and tastes great I'm not complaining. I must try your recipe sometime; custard powder is mostly cornflour (cornstarch), so that would make the cheesey bit light and smooth I guess.

Judith, I have two variants on 'cheesecakes'. One is baked and one uses gelatine to set. As Dian does, I vary the cheese, cream flavouring, fruit and yogurt type and proportions as I feel like (and have the ingredients for) and it always turns out edible, although not always cosmetically perfect.

Baked cheesecake.
This is the slightly more complicated one, I think it came originally from my 'Good Housekeeping' recipe book - present for my 21st birthday and still used regularly.
Sift 2 Oz self raising flour and 1/2 teasp baking powder together. Add 2 Oz softened butter, 2 Oz caster sugar and one egg, beat well and spread evenly into 8 inch greased spring release tin (needs to be pretty tall - I usually end up with too much of the second mix and have to make another small cake as it rises quite a bit (what a pity!)
Then separate 2 eggs, whisk the yolks with about 2 Oz caster sugar until soft and creamy. Beat 8 Oz cream cheese (*) slightly and add to egg mixture, mix until smooth. Sift in flour, add 4 fl Oz soured cream (**) and flavouring (***) and stir in.
In a separate bowl whisk egg whites till stiff, then gently fold into rest of mixture. Pour over base mixture in tin.
Bake at 170 Celcius (Approx - you don't want it to cook too quickly) for one hour until risen, and slightly firm. Turn off heat and leave in oven for one more hour with door slightly ajar (I usually move my cake to the cooler lower oven, since my wood fired oven doesn't cool quickly).
Cool completely before serving (if you can wait!).
I often find that the base will rise up through the topping, and although it tastes delicious, I have taken to using a biscuit base like the gelatine recipe below as it's a bit less faff.

Gelatine cheesecake (not baked)
This recipe is adapted from the Farmhouse Kitchen Book 2.
Melt 1 Oz butter and mix with 4 Oz crushed digestive biscuits, spread into 8" loose bottomed tin. level the top and press down firmly, chill until firm.
Sprinkle one sachet gelatine (about 12 g) onto a small amount (?3 fl Oz?) boiling water leave to soak and stir until dissolved.
Mix 1 lb (16 Oz) soft cheese (*), 5 fl Oz yoghurt (**) and 2 tablespoons fruit jam together, then stir in dissolved gelatine. Pour cheese mixture onto biscuit base and leave in a cool place to set.
I haven't tried this one with so many flavour variations, but I'm pretty sure you can play around a bit there too.

(*) can be any e.g. crowdie, ricotta, philapelphia, home made curd cheese it doesn't seem to matter!
(**) again, doesn't seem to be critical; yoghurt or creme fraiche also work OK, even flavoured yoghurt (we have one with good fruit content I sometimes use)
(***) rind of lemon and sultanas, soft fruit, substitute cocoa for flour and muscovado for caster sugar add banana (yum!)
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you both, Dian and Nancy!

I'm reading the recipes to see if there's any hope for just creaming eggs, cream cheese and sugar together...maybe adding some extra yogurt or fresh creme for the right consistancy?

I don't have several of the recipe's ingredients like corn starch or flour or baking powder.  

I used to make a lot of baked custards so am familiar with the pan in the water bath.  

Had not been thinking about the special spring form pan though?

Usually I would just jump in and experiment but I was hoping for something kind of 'normal' for our holiday house guest  

I do have one small jar of some excellent rose petal jam to top it with...

 
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Years ago when we were in college, my sister worked at a franchise place called Montana Mining Co. (Steak House).

She gave me their recipe for Cheesecake.

The recipe is a no-bake variety that uses cream cheese, whipping cream, and lemon juice with a graham cracker crust.  The finished cheesecake is put into the fridge to set.

It doesn't compare with the baked cheesecake though it was a hit at pot lucks, etc.
 
Judith Browning
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This might work...Leigh Tate's recipe from Pearl's thread in similar topics!

https://permies.com/t/135786/Concept-Cooking-Cheescake#1070830

"Heavenly Chèvre Cheesecake."

3 cups chèvre
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
dash salt
1 cup heavy cream, whipped (I use goat cream, of course)
1 tsp vanilla (or whatever flavoring you wish)
prepared crumb crust

Beat eggs and sugar until light. Add salt and vanilla and mix well. Add chèvre and blend. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into crust and bake at 350°F (180°C) for one hour. Turn off oven, crack the door, and let the cheesecake cool inside the oven for another hour. Makes a 12-inch springform pan cheesecake, or fills two 9-inch pie pans.



I don't have vanilla but maybe can flavor with cardamon.

 
pollinator
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The go to cheesecake recipe I use most is a baked one.

Tho original recipe had a pastry base (I'm hopeless at pastry) but I always use a biscuit crumb base so your favourite biscuits would work.
450g cream cheese (I have used full fat, low fat and quark and all work)
250ml double (heavy) cream
2 eggs (I made it with one as that was all I had and it worked although I usually use 2)
Whip cream until it forms peaks. Mix everything together and put in tin on biscuit crumb base and bake for about 35 minutes at 160°C. Leave in oven to cool. The surface often cracks and you need to make sure the mixture doesn't burn but just turns a delicate light brown round the edges.
The recipe used lemon juice and sultanas in but I've made it with whatever was in the cupboard - chocolate chips, frozen cherries on top once cooked etc,etc. No one has ever complained about it.
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you Ara!
That one sounds good!

I don't see sugar listed?

And I wonder if you set it in a pan of water to bake or if that's not necessary?
 
Ara Murray
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Oh yes, I missed out the sugar! It only has about 50g but you can raise or lower the amount according to your taste. If I make it with a sweet fruit topping I don't add any to the mixture.
It gets placed straight onto the oven shelf rather than in a pan of water.
 
Judith Browning
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Well, I did it...and it's not bad
I was pleased that my strained yogurt cream cheese worked and we had fresh cream.  The cardamon didn't flavor the crust as well as I hoped nor the pecans so if I ever try this again I won't bother with them.

Had already stashed some in the freezer before I thought to take pictures of the slices. It set up nice but I guess I was supposed to wait till tomorrow to cut into it?

I used three eggs, around three cups cream cheese, maybe a cup and a half cream whipped up and a bit more than a half cup sugar....bigger bowl next time.....and maybe lower temp since it browned more than I like towards the end? 325F rather than 350F or cover?

I'm happy with the filling and need to work on the crust...maybe no crust? That's how I do a pie...just the filling
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Judith Browning
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And for New Years with last years rose petal jam

Tastey and simple...I think it seems dry though?
My cheese is firm so even after adding eggs and whipped cream it wasn't a pourable batter...should it be?  I couldn't 'fold' in the cream...had to stir a lot.

And need a different crust.....
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Ara Murray
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That last photo looks lovely. It reminds me of one of the first cheesecakes I ever bought from a Greek shop in London, England. The filling used to stick to the roof of your mouth and it was delicious. It was also over 40 years ago.  You could add more cream until it becomes more of a pouring batter but if you are happy with it as it is, why change it? I would just experiment until you find what you like best. (And then let us all have the recipe.)
 
Judith Browning
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Thanks Ara!

This may be a very occasional dessert so might not get a lot of practice although I'm eyeing a much smaller pyrex pie plate to do the next one with just one cup of cheese, one third size.  
My guy is thinking ahead to our strawberry harvest and then there are the blueberries!

I think I'll try the biscuit crust you mentioned on the next one.....

 
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I cheat and use the Walmart house-brand no-bake cheesecake (this is better than the name-brand no-bake). BUT... I add about half a pound (or more) of cream cheese, and sometimes use part buttermilk instead of plain milk. Then beat until it thickens up. The result is tangy, dense, and rich, and takes about five minutes.
 
pollinator
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I’m a huge fan of yogurt cheesecake and used to make it all the time when I was making yogurt regularly. Hope to get back to that next year!

I made ‘yogurt cheese’ as a starting point which I think is the same thing you have, basically like a Greek yogurt made by draining off liquid from regular yogurt.

Lots of other yummy recipes you can make from that starting point.

I found two books to be really helpful.

https://www.amazon.ca/Eat-Well-YoChee-Way-Delicious/dp/1886101094

https://www.amazon.ca/Just-Cheesecake-Triad-Publishing-Company/dp/0937404454



 
Judith Browning
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Thanks Rez!
What sort of crust do you use?
I wasn't happy with the crust I made but there must be something easy to mix up?
 
Judith Browning
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Andrea Locke wrote:I’m a huge fan of yogurt cheesecake and used to make it all the time when I was making yogurt regularly. Hope to get back to that next year!

I made ‘yogurt cheese’ as a starting point which I think is the same thing you have, basically like a Greek yogurt made by draining off liquid from regular yogurt.

Lots of other yummy recipes you can make from that starting point.



Strained homemade yogurt, yes
I strain then press  so I end up with a sliceable drier 'cheese' that we love.  
For future cheesecakes though I think I can just strain and then not have to add cream, just the eggs and sugar.

I freeze the cheese blocks if I get ahead and then it crumbles more like a feta cheese.  

What do you use for a crust?
Could you share your whole recipe?
Thanks!
 
Rez Zircon
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Judith Browning wrote:Thanks Rez!
What sort of crust do you use?
I wasn't happy with the crust I made but there must be something easy to mix up?



Being lazy I use the included crust mix (which is just crushed graham crackers) and extra butter (which makes it both stiffer and tastier once it sets up), and you can add whatever flavorings or spices you like to that. But a neat addition, or even replacement for the graham crackers, is ground-up walnuts or pecans. (You can actually buy these as a premade crust, but it's easy enough to make.)

You can also add cocoa to the crust.

Melted chocolate (in a very well buttered dish) also works, with or without nuts to bulk it out. Now that I think of it, next time I think I'll try adding chocolate to the graham crackers instead of butter. Why not? there's no rules here, other than "Is it tasty?"

And really, the only reason to use a crust is to make it easier to serve, and keep the filling from gluing itself to the pan. You could just as easily butter individual serving bowls and fill those instead.

Way long ago, I was making the walnut goop that's frosting for German Chocolate cake, and discovered I didn't have any walnuts (or pecans, which I prefer). BUT! I did have a whole bunch of the fine powder left over in the chopper doohickey. So I used that instead. The result was so wonderful that now I always chop them up fine instead of into chunks.
 
Andrea Locke
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Here's my modification of my ''recipe'' (I use the term loosely as I tend to treat them as inspiration, not as a set of instructions!) based on the Not Just Cheesecake book I mentioned above.

2 cups yogurt cheese (just the strained yogurt, no additives needed; drained to a Greek yogurt consistency, not fully dried or pressed)
1/4 heaping cup (or maybe closer to 1/3 cup) sugar - can reduce a bit depending on what fruit etc you add
1 tbsp cornstarch (may need a bit more or less depending on how much you strain your yogurt and what else you add)
1 tsp vanilla
2 large or XL eggs

Optional additives are 1 tbsp lemon juice and/or any seasonal fruit or bananas, etc. I would add about 1-2 mashed bananas, or about 1 cup of fresh fruit, you can use canned fruit if you drain it. It's nice with a splash of maple syrup, or a couple of spoons of jam.

I make this in an 8 inch glass pie pan, lightly oiled. We have family members who don't digest gluten well so I don't bother with a crust, and honestly  we don't miss it at all.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Mix all the ingredients except eggs in a bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and add to other ingredients. Pour into pan and smooth top if needed, with a spatula or knife. If you are adding jam or maple syrup, you can add it at this stage once the cheesecak has been smoothed if you like, and swirl it through, very pretty.

Bake until centre is set. Probably anywhere between 20 and 40 min, depending on your pan and oven.

Cool and refrigerate until it is firm.


 
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