Last weekend, I did something that I’d been wanting to do for a very, very long time – I made a cheesecake! Now, I haven’t ever made cheesecake before (I have made bhapa doi the OPOS way, but never a proper cheesecake), so I was all excited when I set out. I was super confused about how to proceed too, so I turned to the Internet for help.
I am not a big fan of the satiny-smooth, all-sweet texture of cheesecakes that you commonly get in bakeries. I wanted something simpler, more homely, more rustic in looks and taste, something that wouldn’t call for ingredients like gelatin or agar-agar. I finally zeroed in on this recipe by AnnaParabrahma – a cheesecake recipe that uses no agar-agar or gelatin, but hung curd and condensed milk instead.
I mostly followed the original recipe, and the hung curd cheesecake turned out absolutely lovely, far better than I had expected it to be. It tasted so very lovely, sinfully decadent, that it got over within minutes of the making. It wasn’t perfect, but hey, it was my first and was super special!
Now, let’s get on to the recipe part, shall we?
Here’s how I made the hung curd cheesecake.
Ingredients (yields 1 medium-sized cheesecake):
For the base:
- 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, or as required (I used Amul)
- About 10 whole wheat biscuits (store-bought – you could use digestive biscuits instead, too)
For the cheesecake filling:
- 200 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup thick hung curd (not sour)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
For the topping:
1/2 cup strawberry syrup (I used Hershey’s)
Make the base first and then go on to prepare the cheesecake filling, while your base gets freezing in the refrigerator.
For the base:
- Break the biscuits using your hands, and drop the pieces into a mixer. Pulse for a couple of seconds, or till the biscuits turn into a powder.
- Transfer the biscuit powder to a large mixing bowl. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, and mix using your hands. Check consistency after you add each tablespoon of butter and mix it in – stop adding butter when you feel the biscuit powder has reached the texture of wet sand. Keep aside.
- Line a medium-sized baking tin with aluminium foil or parchment paper, leaving a bit of the foil or paper hanging out (this will help you lift the cheesecake out).
- Gently spoon in the biscuit-butter mixture at the bottom of the lined baking tin. Make sure that the mixture is spread evenly, and that there are no gaps. Don’t pack in the mixture too tightly – just spoon it in gently.
- Cover the baking tin and set it in the freezer while you proceed to make the cheesecake filling.
For the cheesecake filling:
- Take the hung curd in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
- Add the vanilla essence, lemon juice and condensed milk to the bowl.
- Whisk everything together until thoroughly combined.
Assembling the cheesecake:
- Once your filling is ready, get the cheesecake base out of the freezer. Uncover.
- Pour the filling over the base, evenly.
- Smooth the top, using a spoon, till even.
- Cover again, and put in freezer. Set freezer at highest temperature. Let the cheesecake freeze overnight.
- The next morning, or whenever you are ready to serve the cheesecake, get it out of the freezer. Uncover. Remove onto a serving plate, carefully, using the aluminium foil or parchment paper that you lined the tin with.
- Remove all traces of the foil or parchment paper from the cheesecake.
- Pour the strawberry syrup evenly over the top of the cheesecake.
- Cut the cheesecake and serve immediately.
- Use the butter at room temperature only.
- I have used whole wheat biscuits to make the base here, instead of the commonly used digestive cookies. Take your pick!
- Resist the temptation to add a whole lot of butter to the base. That will only make the biscuit dough (for the cheesecake base) quite firm and, after you freeze it, really hard. Stop adding butter when the biscuit powder reaches the consistency of wet sand, like I said earlier. Don’t bind it into a firm dough. Remember that the base will set further on freezing and get harder.
- Like I said earlier, gently spoon in the biscuit-butter mixture at the bottom of the baking tin. Don’t pack it in too tightly – that will make the base very hard.
- A springform tin works best to make this cheesecake, so that all you have to do after the cheesecake is set is open the latch and unmould it. However, if you do not own a springform tin, an ordinary baking tin suffices too – just line it with foil or parchment paper so that it is easier to lift the set cheesecake out the next day.
- Use thick curd that is fresh and not too sour, to make this cheesecake.
- You can use any flavour of syrup, of your choice, to top the cheesecake.
- If you are using strawberry syrup to top the cheesecake, you could use strawberry essence for the filling too, instead of vanilla.
- Get the cheesecake out of the freezer only when you are ready to serve it.
- Apparently, mixing lemon juice with the condensed milk and hung curd helps the cheesecake set better. This is of utmost importance, considering you are not using agar-agar or gelatin to set the cheesecake.
- This recipe will give you a rather rustic, slightly sour-tasting but delish cheesecake, which will not have the smooth sheen or texture of a bakery-bought one.
Do try out this easy hung curd cheesecake recipe, will you? And don’t forget to tell me how it turned out!