Friday, January 29, 2010

Junior's White Chocolate & Rapsberry Swirl Cheesecake

This was the first recipe I baked after buying Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook. This cheesecake was very impressive and I love the flavor combination. I'm surprised how much I loved the sponge cake crust. I'm not really a fan of sponge cake but it wasn't as light and airy as angel food cake. It still had some body to it and made a great base for this dessert.

The only downfall to this recipe was the crunchiness of raspberry seeds. Please strain the seeds out of the puree. If not, you will not have a smooth, creamy texture in your cheesecake. Raspberry seeds are pretty hard.

Also, I'm not really a fan of the Junior's cheesecake texture. They mix the ingredients differently than most cheesecake recipes, and it has cornstarch in it. I don't know how to really explain the texture of it, but it comes out kind of dry and eggy and pasty. I like the more standard cheesecake recipe like this one. This recipe always produces a creamy, luscious cheesecake. You can substitute the sugar for a can of sweetened condensed milk. And you can still add heavy cream at the end which would change the cream cheese flavor to more like, well cream.

One more note. I never cook my cheesecakes in a water bath. Totally unnecessary. Just don't overbake or overmix and it won't crack. Also, leave the cheesecake in the oven and turn off the heat when it's done baking so that it cools slowly to room temperature which will also prevent cracking.

Junior's White Chocolate & Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake (original recipe)

Junior's Sponge Cake Crust (see recipe below)
10 ounces frozen whole raspberries, thawed and drained well
5 tablespoons cornstarch
8 ounces white chocolate
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (full fat), softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
2/3 cup heavy or whipping crema
6 ounces fresh raspberries (garnish)
White chocolate curls (garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter the bottom (not the sides) of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending up the sides. Make and bake the cake crust and leave it in the pan. Keep the oven on.

2. Pulse the thawed raspberries in your food processor or blender until pureed (you need 3/4 cup of puree). Stir in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and set aside. It will slightly thicken as it stands. Melt the white chocolate and set aside. White chocolate is delicate and can scorch easily. Melt in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly or microwave uncovered on high for 30 seconds. Stir with a spoon, then repeat 2-3 times until completely melted. It's important to stir because white chocolate keeps its shape so that it doesn't appear melted when it really is. Too much heat can curdle and ruin the chocolate.

3. Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Beat in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the melted white chocolate, then the cream, just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix.

4. Gently spoon the batter on top of the crust. Using a teaspoon, drop the raspberry puree in spoonfuls on top the batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a figure eight design, just until red swirls appear.

5. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and top is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and let cool for 2 hours. Leave the cake in the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, overnight.

6. Decorate the top with the fresh raspberries and chocolate curls when ready to serve.

Junior's Sponge Cake Crust (for one 9-inch cake crust)

1/3 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 extra large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 drops pure lemon extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter the bottom (not the sides) of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending up the sides.

2. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

3. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until thick light yellow robbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in extracts.

4. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. now, blend in the melted butter.

5. Now, wash the mixing bowl and beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can cause the egg whites not to whip). Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about one third of the whites into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don't worry if you still see a few white specks, as they'll disappear during baking.

6. Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky) about 10-12 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, its done. Watch carefully and don't let the top brown. Leave the crust in the pan and let cool.
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