When I was growing up we virtually lived on cheesecake or as we call them here kwarktaart. Now the cheesecake that is commonly known throughout the world is very different from a regular kwarktaart as it is a non-baking version and should probably be called quark-cake rather then cheesecake as that is really what it is. It’s much lighter then your average cheesecake as it doesn’t have cream cheese in it. It does have a lot more sugar in it, so that might seriously counter balance the fat in the cream cheese though.
Why did we make all those cakes you wonder? Well for one, both my mum and dad have a real sweet tooth. I guess I kind of inherited that along with the savory version of that tooth.. 😉 So they always liked to have a cake around during weekends, and birthdays or family gatherings. You see my mum comes from a family of 6 kids and my dad comes from a family of 9 kids. So all my aunts and uncles combined that made already 30 people. Add all the nieces and nephews in and you’ll get to a lot of family, a lot of birthdays and a lot of parties to attend to. Which I completely hated by the way.
Not that we had any say in the matter. We were just dragged along and Yvonne , my eldest sister, and me were usually the oldest kids around with the one exception of the most horrible nephew we had. He was the only one of our age and he was just plain stupid. That never changed over the years, probably also because he was the son of my least favorite aunt and uncle. I’ve never truly liked having so many family members. Sure there were a couple of nice nieces and nephews and once they got older it was ok to hang out with them at birthdays but I hated (and still do) the fact that we HAD to go to all those birthdays.
Can you still remember those family gatherings where every one was crammed together in a tight living room, sitting in a circle? The adults would talk about stuff kids didn’t find interesting and certainly were not supposed to hear, so we were usually whisked away to some sort of backroom where they had games we could/had to play. And believe me when I say they were never the good ones… I never liked boardgames anyway so that didn’t help either. The one thing that stood out for me that all those birthdays were just plain booooorrrriiinnggg!
At least when we were having a birthday in our home I got the fun of making a quark cake. Since my mum hated baking and my dad never baked much more then the occassional egg or pancake it was pretty soon that I was asked to make them. Not that it involved a lot of work as – at the time – all we did was make those cakes with a prebought mix. The only thing you did was buy the quark, put it in a bowl, add the powder package that was in the box which contained loads of color and a strawberry flavor, mix the two together and you had you cake. Line a baking tin with cookies of some sort, dump the mix in there and put it in the fridge for 4 hrs and voila, you had a quark cake. Not knowing any better I really did like it at the time, and it was always that or an apple pie (and even back then I rocked in making apple pies!)
The first time I ate a real cheesecake I did not like it one bit. It was sour in a wrong way and just tasted weird. It was probably not a very good one either but I really had to restrain myself not to open my mouth and let the bite I took drop out again (I love it when little kids do that but it somehow is a bit frowned upon when you’re older… lol) So from that moment on I didn’t think I liked cheesecake and therefore never ordered it again.
Until – way back in 2009 – we had the Daring Bakers challenge. It was my first challenge and I had to bake a cheesecake… And even though I didn’t expect it to be good it was delicious! So that converted me into actually liking cheesecake but as happens to a lot of the dishes I tried, I never baked it again. Not because it wasn’t good but simply because there are so much other things to try!
But trust me when I say that this cheesecake (original recipe from the book Hummingbird Bakery) is definitely worth making again and again! Soooo good!
Strawberry lime cheesecake
For the bottom:
- 220 gr bastogne biscuits
- 100 gr butter
For the filling;
- 600 gr creamcheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 2 eggs
- 180 gr sugar
- 200 gr strawberries
- 30 ml limejuice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anis
- limezest of 1 lime
For the topping (strawberry coulis);
- 200 gr strawberries plus some extra for decorating
- zest of 1 lime
- 50 gr sugar
- 100 ml whipping cream + a bit of sugar for sweetening
- Start by preparing the strawberries. Clean them and put into a small saucepan. Add 80 gr of the sugar, 30 ml of limejuice, one cinnamon stick and one star anis and bring the mixture to the bowl. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a while until the strawberries are soft and half of the liquid has dissolved a bit. Turn of the heat and leave to cool completely before using.
- Crumble your bastogne biscuits in a foodprocessor and put them in a bowl. Add the melted butter to it and mix everything together.
- preheat your oven to 150 C.
- Prepare your baking tin by putting a sheet of baking paper on the bottom. Press your crumbled biscuits down to the bottom using a spoon. Put the tin into the fridge for about 20 mins to half an hour to set.
- Prepare your filling by putting the creamcheese plus the remaining 100 gr of sugar into a mixing bowl and either using a standmixer or a handmixer mix until smooth. Add the eggs one at the time and mix everything well in between. Add some lime zest to your creamcheese at this point to enhance the lime flavor. Spoon in the cooled down strawberry mixture (don't forget to remove your cinnamon stick and star anis!)
- Mix the strawberries through the creamcheese but don't mix it completely so you have some streaks of white and pink happening in the mixture. Tip your batter into the ready tin and fill to about 2/3 of the tin.
- Wrap aluminium foil tightly around the outside of the tin to prevent water coming in from the waterbath you are going to use to bake the cheese cake in.
- Place your baking tin into a baking tray that is high enough to fill with water that reaches the level of the cheesecake in your tin. Put the tin into your oven and fill with water up to the level of your cake.
- Bake your cheesecake for about 45 minutes. The top of the cheesecake should be firm but the middle will still be a bit wobbly. It's a bit hard to describe what to look for but the top should appear a bit dry. Turn the oven off and leave to cool the cake in the oven for another hour or so.
- Remove the cake from the oven once cooled down and leave to cool down further in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours before cutting.
- To prepare your topping put the strawberries in a blender or stickblender and puree with the sugar and zest. Whip the cream with a bit of sugar until you have soft peaks.
- Shortly before serving spread the whipping cream on top of the cheesecake and decorate with the remaining strawberries. Sprinkle a tiny bit of ground cinnamon on top (optional) and serve with the raspberry coulis.
Adapted from the Hummingbird bakery