It is easy to dress up traditional cheesecakes with fresh fruit toppings.
Robert E. Harbison
Culinary Concept Coordinator
"Recently we did a toasted sesame cheesecake with Oreo crust. It had a salty sweetness to it that was not to everybody's liking, but it was certainly interesting!
"Princeton Dining Services has a partnership with the author of Conscious Cuisine. One of the more popular healthful cheesecakes from this book is a white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake. We use reduced fat cream cheese, turbinado sugar, low-fat cottage cheese, skim milk and gelatin sheets to help it stand up, and white chocolate, pumpkin pur?e and some spices. It's more of a custard style cheesecake, but students enjoy it without the guilt."
Head Pastry Chef
Unidine's Celebrations Gourmet Catering
"I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so when I bake I tend to cut the really sweet flavors. I do a mojito cheesecake (recipe below) with lime, rum and mint. I always tend to have leftover mint, so I made some simple syrup with it. I mixed white rum, lime juice and creme de menthe together and put some lime curd on the top. It's a very summery and refreshing cheesecake without being too cloying.
"A trap that a lot of people fall into in this business is baking cheesecakes in a convection oven. You want the eggs to bake as slowly and gently as possible. For the best quality, cheesecake should not be baked in a convection. It cooks too hot and too quickly, and causes browning. I do have to do it all the time, though, and cracks just seem unavoidable. I give my cheesecakes a water bath and keep the convection on low fan."
Keylime Mojito Cheesecake
Yield: 1 cake
1 ⁄2 -1 cup mint leaves and smaller stems
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
4 oz butter,cubed
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
4 oz melted butter
2 lbs.cream cheese at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 ⁄3 cup sour cream
1⁄4 cup light rum
1 Tbsp.white crème de menthe
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
3 Tbsps.mint simple syrup,recipe follows
1 cup sour cream topping
1⁄4 cup sugar
- Mint Simple Syrup: Roughly chop mint, and combine with sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer for a few minutes, then turn off heat. Leave to steep for 15—30 minutes. Strain and cool.
- for lime Curd: Whisk together yolk, eggs, sugar and juice in a non-reactive saucepan. Turn heat on low, and cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved, mixture is homogenous and slightly thickened. Drop in a little butter at a time, and continue to cook (and whisk), until thick and smooth. Scrape into clean bowl, passing through chinois if any clumps exist or there are bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. With the tip of a toothpick, add a tiny amount of green food coloring and whisk thoroughly to distribute color. Scrape down sides, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F if using convection oven).
- For Crust: Place 10" springform pan in center of an extra wide sheet of heavy duty foil and wrap foil smoothly up sides, making sure there are no gaps or rips. Allow excess to stand straight up. Mix together cookie crumbs, butter and salt. Press into bottom and just slightly up sides of the pan. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool while making filling.
- For filling: Paddle cream cheese on low speed until completely smooth. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt, and sift over cream cheese. Beat until smooth again. Add eggs, one by one, then sour cream, liquor, juice and syrup. Beat until smooth.
- Pour filling into crust (if using a convection oven, lightly spray foil and cover cake tightly with it). Place in 12" or 14" cake pan and fill 1⁄3 with hot water, making sure to not allow water inside foil. Reduce oven heat to 325°F (300°F). Bake 45-60 (35-50 convection) minutes, or until the center is set, but still slightly wobbly. Remove from oven and water bath, unwrap foil and cool 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together remaining sour cream and sugar. Pour topping over cake and smooth with spatula. Put lime curd in pastry bag and pipe design onto topping, using a toothpick to drag around surface. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Do not allow topping to brown or bubble. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Chill 6 hours or, better yet, overnight.
Recipe by Sara Polsonetti, Head Pastry Chef, Unidine's Celebrations Gourmet Catering.
PHOTO BY US HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY COUNCIL