Tag Archives: Cheesecake

Käsekuchen nach Oma Friedel

If you have a smattering of German, you’ll know that this is Grandma Freidel’s cheesecake. Much as I would love to be able to claim this is a secret family recipe, passed down through the generations, that would be a great big lie. It is a family recipe, but it comes from my friend Klaus in Brussels shared at the weekend.

As baked cheesecakes go, this is a nice, simple recipe (no worrying about making a base, getting it cooked, then doing the filling…). Instead, just make the batter and bake. Simple. It also has a light, fresh hint of citrus, and is excellent either on its own, or served with red fruits (think a simple compote of redcurrants and raspberries). Served in giant slabs, you’ll be transported to the Black Forest in no time.

To make Grandma Friedel’s cheesecake:

• 250g butter
• 350g sugar
• 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
• 6 eggs
• Pinch of salt
• Zest of 1/2 lemon
• 1 kg Magerquark (similar to drained low-fat fromage frais)
• 8 dessert spoons of fine semolina
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 dessert spoons single cream

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Grease a springform cake tin and line the base with a disc of greaseproof paper.

Melt the butter and allow to cool. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon zest, and mix well.

Separate the six eggs, placing the whites in a separate bowl and add five of the yolks to the butter/sugar mixture (keep one yolk separate for later). Mix the yolks into the butter/sugar mixture and stir well until combined.

Mix the quark, semolina and lemon juice together. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff, and fold into the quark mixture. Finally, fold in the butter/sugar/egg yolk mixture. Be delicate, trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Beat the reserved egg yolk with the cream and drizzle carefully over the top of the batter.

Bake for 60 minutes. After 30 minutes, check the top of the cake, and cover with a round of greaseproof paper to prevent it from burning.

Once cooked, remove from the oven – at this stage, it might look a little bit wobbly, but it will set when cool.


Filed under Guest chef, Recipe, Sweet Things

Easy Lemon Cheesecake

Today’s recipe has probably been in my cooking repertoire the longest, a very easy lemon cheesecake.

In the cheesecake world, there are two types, either the creamy variety like this one (which I call “American” on the basis that, eh, it’s easy), or the baked variety (which I refer to as “European” cheesecake, on the basis that I was first presented with this when on holiday in Germany aged fourteen and went into a bit of sulk as it was not what I expected from a “cheesecake”). If anyone is able to add a little more refinement to my classifications, I would welcome it!

This recipe is not a million miles away from some of the recipes for Key Lime Pie that I have seen, albeit that they usually involve eggs, but they rely on the reaction with the tart citrus juice to thicken the filling. This cheesecake is great as there is no messing about with eggs or baking it in the oven – the filling is a mixture of cream cheese and condensed milk, to which you add lemon juice. Like magic, it thickens up, and if you leave it to sit overnight in the fridge, it sets quite well. Using good, fresh lemons means that the cheesecake will be sharp and zingy, and the lack of eggs, butter etc. means that the finished result is also surprisingly light.

For the base, you can use the usual (boring) sweet digestive biscuits, which work well, but I like to use ginger nuts, which have a little more flavour and work well with the cream cheese and lemon. This also works well with speculaas biscuits, if you like that sort of thing.

For one cheesecake:

• 250g biscuits (digestive, ginger nuts etc).
• 50g butter
• 1 tin condensed milk (450g)
• 400g cream cheese (2 packets)
• 2 lemons, zest and juice only

For the base: Crush the biscuits finely. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the biscuit crumbs. Mix well, and pour into the bottom of a loose-bottomed flan case (mine was 20cm diameter). Spread the mixture out, and pat down firmly and smooth with the back of a spoon. Leave in the fridge to set.

For the filling: Put the condensed milk, cream cheese and lemon zest in a bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined and the mixture thickens (this happens quickly). Pour the filling mixture into the flan dish. Shake the pan lightly from side to side so that the surface evens off.

Place the cheesecake in the fridge and allow to rest overnight. The filling will continue to set, and will hold its shape when you cut it.

Worth making? I love this recipe, as it is really easy and ensures good results. I have also had quite a few requests from friends to give them the recipe, which I take to mean that people probably like it too. Just be sure to use the best, most tart lemons you can get hold of so that the flavour shines through.


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

On Location: Canteen (Southbank, London)

I met up with my good friend K and her adorable baby yesterday on the Southbank. After the culture, we went for a bite to eat. I had grand plans of heading into the West End or Shoreditch, but of course, these things are a little less easy with a pram. She’s actually great at getting around and doesn’t see London transport as an insurmountable obstacle with a baby in her arms, but still, it probably made sense to stay somewhere local.

This is how we ended up in Canteen. Our initial plan was to try and see if the Skylon cocktail bar served afternoon tea. For the record, it doesn’t, which is a shame as it has a great view over the river. At the back of the same building, there is a branch of Canteen , so with the heavens about to open, we popped in there.

Canteen prides itself on serving traditional British fare in a contemporary, relaxed atmosphere. The seating is a little like in a diner, although you are quite close to each other, so it is certainly intimate, but does not feel crushed.

What was pretty obvious from the menu is that there is little by way of vegetarian food. From memory, there was a vegetarian pie, and the barley dish I went for. I think that’s actually a pretty poor showing. I know that you can create a meal through the strategic ordering of side dishes, but that is something I feel is reserved for holidays in France, not going out for lunch in the centre of London. Limited choice aside, I went for barley with marjoram and roasted squash and fennel. Got to say, it was pretty good. It was well-salted, but they had just gotten it right. A nice combination of the slightly chewy barley and the soft squash. The fennel was just right – cooked, but with a little texture and plenty of light aniseed flavour. We had it with a portion of chips – perfectly good, but what had they done with the mayonnaise? One of my little habits from living in Belgium is that I quite like chips with mayo, but this stuff was gelatinous, greasy and a bit off-putting. In the interests of the greater good and love of food, I tried it. It tasted alright, but a bit oily. Then I did what I normally never do – I reached for the tomato sauce, and ate the rest of the chips with that. They need to sort out their mayo! K went for scrambled eggs (“The most yellow eggs I have ever seen”) which looked alright nad seemed to go down well. I’m not a fan of scrambled eggs, so can’t really offer my opinion.

After finishing the mains and a bit of a chat, we finished with tea and shared a cake. We took the cheesecake with hazelnut brittle. This I liked a lot. It was a baked cheesecake, which is often quite dense, but this was light, soft, fluffy and kept a good amount of tanginess from the cream cheese. The slice was massive and a but too much even for two to share, but it was a nice little treat to round off the meal. I’ve been to Canteen at Canary Wharf too, and found their carrot cake and their Victoria sponge to be good as well. Perhaps this is a sign that Canteen is somewhere to come for a quick cake and a cuppa?

Would I go back? Yes, given its location and the fact that there are a few things on the menu. There is not a huge amount of choice for vegetarians, so I am more inclines to come here if passing and hungry, rather than seeing it as a “must come” place for dinner.

Canteen Southbank, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Tel: 0845 686 1122. Tube: Waterloo or Embankment.

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