If you have the chance to turn work into delicious cheesecake style fun, then I think you owe it to yourself to take it on. This was the argument I had with myself, when I decided that finding and testing the very best recipes I could for cheesecake on the web was my next culinary job.
I love cheesecake, in its most basic form it is incredibly easy and simple to make, however it can be transformed into the most sophisticated and chic of dinner party desserts.
As I started looking for recipes, and stocked up on digestive biscuits, I realised I was going to have to decide which cheesecake recipe road I was going to travel down, the homely, comfort foodie one or the fancy impressive dessert one. For me it was a rather easy decision, I have very little finesse, in any part of the my life, and certainly my food reflects this, so it was a cheesecake comfort food journey I happily embarked upon!
These are my favourites:
I am not always the biggest fan of Nigella, I find all the hair flicking, lip licking and smouldering with a lobster slightly trying. HOWEVER this cheesecake is flipping lovely, incredibly easy to make with a few easy to obtain and cheap ingredients, it fits the comfort food criterion very well indeed, being sweet, chocolatey and rammed full of calories. Despite trying very hard, it is impossible to eat much more than one very large slice at a sitting. Add a wee bit of whipped cream, or even some vanilla ice-cream and it really is heaven on a plate.
BBC Good Food of course always comes to the fore, this receipe for strawberry cheesecake is delicious and simple. I did however find after a few tweaks, for me it was even better (and cheaper). The recipe asks for vanilla pods, but a teaspoon of vanilla extract will do the job as well, I also on the first making would have described this as a vanilla cheesecake with a few strawberries on top. By making a strawberry coulis which you can drizzle over each slice before serving, made it actually feel like a strawberry dish.
The great thing very often about a cheesecake is that you can add whatever you want, and this recipe is a classic for that, raspberries, ripe blueberries, even peaches or nectarines, blackberries or any combination of fruit or berries will be perfect to top it with.
It is impossible not to include a baked cheesecake in this list, I had initially thought I would only do the non baked kind, but this recipe from the manufacturer of the cheese most of use in our cheesecakes ticks all the right boxes a baked cheesecake needs to for me – its simple, not over flavoured and rather easy to make. A baked cheesecake has a different texture, when make correctly it is a little more substantial tasting, and sturdy enough to take a decent dosing of fruit, coulis or sauce.
You of course do not actually need to use Philadelphia soft cheese to make this recipe, and I confess I use a cheaper supermarket brand! The results are rather scrummy though.
I have continued on a mini theme with my final, and most definitely favourite cheesecake. Remember Carnation milk? Well its used in this cheesecake (evaporated milk – any brand will do of course you don’t need the one with the red flower on it!) by using evaporated milk and light cream cheese you get a cheesecake which is creamy but light.
Although I love chocolate cheesecakes, and berry cheesecakes, and in fact anything else in-between as well, what I really love are citrus flavour cheesecakes, the flavour of lemon naturally cuts through a creamy soft cheesecake to make a perfect combination.
As I said earlier, none of these recipes are particularly technical, or the result delicate or fancy looking, however what they are is a small taste of comforting cheesecake heaven on a fork.
Cheesecake is very easy to make, can be rather easy on the purse, and are so so so very easy to eat, with your feet up on a Sunday afternoon!