I am officially out of exam hell. Well, not officially because whether I passed this year remains to be seen, but for the moment I am done with studying. *Inserts Frodo “It’s Over Sam” meme* After weeks of SWOTVAC and 4 exams in awkwardly spaced succession, freedom and guiltless procrastination welcome me as an old friend. In the 6 hours following our last exam, we’ve grabbed Korean food, watched a movie and I’ve made my first cake in what feels like forever.
Can you be horny for baking? I certainly was frustrated and experiencing internal turmoil, ready to burst out a whisk and give birth to cake. Don’t even ask. I actually struggled not being able to decide what to make; it was a toss between blueberry braided bread and orange cardamom rolls. Yesterday I was seriously craving cinnamon buns too, or as I call them, SINnamon buns. But my mother, the ultimate cheesecake lover, had already seen cheesecake topped with blueberry sauce being made on TV and demanded that I replicate it. Suits me just fine.
I was reviewing some of my existing posts and to my dismay, so far I’ve failed to admit the mishaps and little accidents, and how I attempted to amend them. That would be completely missing the point of documenting my adventures as an aspiring home baker. So I’ll be forward and say that I, despite making mental notes, totally forgot to prebake the crust. Honestly, it turned out fine and quite flavourful, but I felt like an idiot the second I poured the filling onto the raw biscuit base. I blame the brain cells I’ve lost to all the last-minute cramming sessions in the past month.
With the addition of lemon zest and juice, as well as using yogurt for the dairy instead of the more commonly used cream or sour cream, this is definitely more tangy than the average vanilla cheesecake. Which is a welcome personality considering the sweet fruit topping.
As you can see from the single photo above, the cheesecake barely looks baked with its smooth sides and lack of browning. Does anyone else prefer their cheesecakes to be more custardy in texture than floury? I have nothing against a cheesecake with a beautifully golden crust and puffed rim, this is just the way I prefer as I think baking low and slow ensures creamy texture every time.
Baked cheesecake w/ coconut biscuit base + blueberry compote
(makes one v tall 5″ cake)
For the coconut biscuit base:
15g unsweetened desiccated coconut
pinch of salt
45g unsalted butter, softened
For the cheesecake filling:
250g cream cheese
80g white granulated sugar
200g full-fat plain Greek yogurt
zest & juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
For the blueberry compote:
150g blueberries (frozen works fine)
1-2 tbsp sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
zest & juice of half a lemon
Before starting out, make sure to bring all the ingredients to room temperature, which only took a minute under the 34°C heat today. Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F.
For the biscuit base, mix together the flour, coconut and salt until evenly distributed. Then add the softened butter and mix until a dough/paste forms. Press it into a buttered and bottom-lined tin (but not floured) tightly in an even layer and bake for about 10 minutes until slightly browned. Set aside.
To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Avoid beating at too high a speed as it could lead to cracking. Add the vanilla, lemon and eggs one at a time and mix until the batter is homogenous and glossy. Scrape down the sides if there are unmixed bits clinging to the bowl, and give it one last quick spin just to even out the lumps.
Pour the batter into the tin onto the baked biscuit base. Bang the tin gently a few times so the air bubbles can rise to the top. Place in the middle of the oven. On the bottom rack place a pan with hot water so as to retain moisture and gently cook the cheesecake. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the outside is set and the centre is wobbly and jelly-like when you gently shake the tin. In the last 10 minutes you may like to turn off the oven and keep the oven door slightly ajar so there’s no rapid drop in temperature which can make the top sink down.
Once it completely cools down, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled and set, about 2 hours. Don’t remove from the tin until set as soft filling can easily collapse.
To make the compote, simply stew the blueberries with lemon and sugar on low-medium heat until the juice thickens and the blueberries are soft. It takes about 10 minutes. Leave to cool then cover and refrigerate.