Thursday, 16 February 2012

American Style Cheesecake - Baking with Kids

...or, if my son had been naming this post, it would be

How to Make a Munchy-Crunchy-Cake

which is what he decided to call the cake half way through making it.

A little while ago I discovered Renee's blog (Kudos Kitchen by Renee) and was particularly intrigued earlier in the week when she posted a recipe for malted Milk Ball Cheesecake. In the UK cheesecake recipes aren't usually cooked, but it seems that American style cheesecakes are a baked delicacy. I love malty flavoured things, so I thought this would be a brilliant recipe to try out with the kids. I've changed it slightly...Europeanised it a little I guess, but hopefully not enough that it's untrue to its origins.

You can see Renee's original recipe here; my recipe is below:

For the base:

choc chip cookies (2 packets - approx 400g total)
white OvaltineTM powder (1 tablespoon )
melted butter (85g)

For the filling:

mascarpone cheese, softened to room temp (500 g)
self raising flour (1.5 tablespoons)
MaltesersTM (a 230g pouch)
white OvaltineTM powder (2 tablespoons)
caster sugar (225g)
crème fraiche, at room temperature (100g)
vanilla extract (few drops)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
grated chocolate for topping

Renee's recipe tells you to put the cookies in the food processor & whizz them up, but it's much more fun to put them in a bag, arm your three-year-old with a rolling pin and tell him to whack them to bits. In this photo it looks like he's rolling them but he was actually perfecting a two handed smashing action!!

We then combined the cookie bits with the butter and the OvaltineTM powder in the food processor and blitzed them until the mixture started to come together in clumps. We then squished it all down into a 9" baking tin. We popped it in the oven at approx 170C for around ten minutes and then set it aside to cool a little.

Meanwhile, we got on with making the filling. With Mrs B's help we whipped the mascarpone, flour, OvaltineTM powder and the sugar into  a lovely creamy mixture. We then added the crème fraiche and vanilla and lightly mixed them in (although there is a certain lack of finesse in a three-year-old controlling the on-off button of a powerful mixer!). 

We then added the eggs one at a time, slowly mixing them well in, before adding the MaltesersTM. Renee's recipe calls for the balls to be chopped in half...however, the unbridled enthusiasm of my son resulted in the whole pouch being emptied straight in to the bowl and mixed in:

We then poured the mixture into the tin and popped it in the oven at somewhere between 170-180C for an hour. I'm guessing that had we chopped the balls they wouldn't have all floated to the surface...

After an hour it came out looking like this:

and smelling DELICIOUS!!!

Although unplanned, the fact that the MaltesersTM formed a lovely caramelised layer on top of the smooth creamy-cheesy layer really made this for me, and I think it suits the munch-crunchy-cake title quite well! I think I am definitely a convert to baked cheesecake. It is quite different to what the British would usually call cheesecake, but it is worth the extra time and effort to make it - yum!!