I’ve made my fair share of cheesecake bars, raw “cashew” cheesecakes and creamcheese swirled brownies, but very few true, decadent, whole cheesecakes. This cake is rich, creamy and high. New York style with a sky-high crust, distinct layers and a sticky, sweet compote poured over. Plums, raspberries, cherries… use whatever is in season near you or, as in my case, whatever canned fruit you have in the pantry.
Black Doris Plum & Vanilla Layered Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
I followed Smitten’s method for avoiding cracking of the cheesecake. This involves a very high oven temperature for the first 12 minutes of baking before reducing it for a further 40 – 50 minutes. Mine still cracked so up to you whether you try this, or bake it for a full hour in a moderate oven. I added a wee bit of cocoa to the malt biscuits to achieve a base that was darker and richer than that of sweet cookies (can’t get chocolate wafers in NZ). Again, completely optional.
1 packet (250g) malt biscuits (or vanilla wines or graham crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (optional)
150 grams butter, melted
Whizz biscuits until finely ground. Add sugar, cocoa and melted butter. Whizz until well combined. Squeeze mixture between fingers – it should stick together (if it doesn’t add a little more melted butter). Press into base and sides of greased 21cm springform pan. Place in freezer while preparing cheesecake filling.
750g (3 packs) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
4 canned Black Doris plums, pureed in food processor
Preheat oven to 250˚C. Beat together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and flour with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until each egg is incorporated. Scrape down bowl well between additions – cream cheese will always accumulate in the bottom. Remove crust from the freezer and place on an oven tray (to catch drips). Pour half of the vanilla cheesecake into the base. Add pureed plums to remaining cheesecake and combine well. Pour over vanilla cheesecake. (Here I find it handy to let first layer firm up in the freezer while mixing the plum cheesecake. This helps prevent the layers from mixing while being poured. Also pouring the plum mix over a spatula helps evenly distribute it over the vanilla layer.)
Bake in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. Carefully watch your cake because some ovens will top-brown very quickly and if yours does too fast, turn the oven down as soon as you catch it. Reduce the temperature to 140˚C and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about 40 minutes more.
Remove from the oven, run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform pan on a rack. Once cool, place in refrigerator to chill overnight (or at least 6 hours).
1 large can (850g) Black Doris Plums
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
Strain the can of plums, discarding the syrup. Mix plums with lemon and sugar, lightly pressing to break up the whole plums. Let sit to allow juices to mingle. Pour over chilled cheesecake and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.