I’ve been tinkering with my favorite cheesecake recipe for, well let’s just say for a very long time. The goal has always been to produce a light airy fluffy cheesecake similar to Cheesecake Etc.
Most cheesecake recipes are either
- no-bake gelatin-based cheesecakes (which can be light but have a distinct gelatin texture)
- or they are baked egg-based cheesecakes that tend to be rich and creamy, but usually not light or airy
Cheesecake Etc’s offering was the exception. There’s was an egg-based baked cheesecake with a remarkably light fluffy texture, at times, it’s was light as the whipped cream topping on their cheesecake. I concluded that they we separating the egg yolks and whites, whipping the egg whites into a meringue before folding in the cream cheese mixture.
So this was my latest attempt to do the same. I’d tried it a couple of times before, but did not achieve the desired result.
Since it was the holiday season, and I had the ingredients, I went with a peppermint accented cheesecake on a chocolate wafer cookie base, topped with a chocolate ganache.
I started by crushing the chocolate wafer cookies into a course dust, mixed it with melted butter, pressed it into a pan (actually a spring form pan, and some stainless steel ring molds) and blind baked them until the crust was set.
Then I blended the cheese in a food processor until it was smooth.
Next I separated the eggs into yolks and whites, adding the yolks and sugar into the food processor with the cream cheese blend.
I used a hand mixer to whip the egg whites with cream of tartar until the whites formed stiff peaks (a meringue)
I poured the creamcheese & meringue mixture into the spring form pan and placed the spring form pan into a deep baking pan.
Then I popped them into the oven, filling the outer pans with hot water (a bain-marie) and baked the cheesecakes at a low oven temperature until the cheesecakes were still quivering slightly in the middle. Then I took them out to cool at room temperature for several hours.
Once they cooled to room temperature, I popped them into the refrigerator to cool for several more hours, before moving them to the freezer. This was necessary, because these cheesecakes needed to be frozen before slicing (otherwise the knife tears the surface of the cakes horribly).
After freezing for several hours, I sliced the cheesecakes (or removed them from the steel rings), and left them in the freezer until just a few hours before serving. Then I removed them from the freezer and allow them to defrost in the refrigerator.
Right at service, I prepared a chocolate ganache by melting some belgian dark chocolate with some heavy cream, and then whipped the remaining heavy cream and used both to top the cheesecake.
I was very happy with the results here. This was what I’d been aiming for, a light fluffy airy, but still creamy cheesecake. And it took (god knows) how many years and probably several dozen recipe tweaks to get it right!