Post Game Analysis: The Ultimate Cheesecake

In my last post I discussed my tour through six different cheesecake recipes and the merits of each.  After tasting them all, and taking input from some lucky friends, I have honed in on my ideal cheesecake recipe, combining the best qualities of all the recipes I tried. It is a hybrid between the dense, New York cheesecake, and the fluffy, Israeli cheesecake.  It contains lemon zest. It has a butterscotch topping and a cookie crumb (or graham cracker) crust. It was baked in a water bath for perfect texture and beauty.  Below are the recipes in both Israeli and American versions, I hope you enjoy!

Ultimate Cheesecake (Israeli units)
Makes 26 cm diameter spring-form pan

For filling:
5 eggs
400 grams (2 cups) sugar
1 kg 30% fat shemenet cheese (I used Gad, from the dairy counter).
500 grams 9% gevinah lavanah (white cheese)
½ cup flour
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon

For crust:
200 grams Petit buerre crackers
100 grams butter, melted
Pinch of salt

For topping:
400 ml shemenet metukah
50 grams powdered sugar
200 grams Ribat chalav

Ultimate Cheesecake (American units)
Makes 10” diameter spring-form pan

For filling:
5 eggs
2 cups sugar
32 oz regular cream cheese (not low fat)
16 oz low fat sour cream (the low fat type is important for the consistency of the batter, not for dietary purposes ; ) )
½ cup flour
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon

For crust:
12 graham crackers
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt

For topping:
I’m not sure if you can buy the same type of butterscotch topping I used here in Israel in the US.  The type I used in Israel, called Ribat Chalav, has a more solid consistency when cold, like a frosting, and a more spreadable consistency at room temperature.  I don’t think this is the case for some butterscotch toppings you can buy in the US and the different consistency could make a big difference in the recipe.  You can experiment with something like this or make your own.  Apparently it is “ridiculously easy.”

(American units in parenthesis). Adapted from Martha Stewart recipe.

Preheat oven to 180C (350 F).  Wrap the outside of your spring-form pan in two layers of foil to make sure water from the water bath doesn’t leak in.

To make the crust, in your food processor process the crackers into fine crumbs, then in a bowl combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, (sugar), and salt.  Pour this mixture into your spring-form pan and compress in an even layer into the pan.  The bottom of a measuring cup works well for this.  Freeze the dough for 15 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes, then allow to cool.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then, add in sugar, flour, sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla, in that order, and beat after each addition.  Then add in eggs on at a time, beating after each.  Beat until everything is just combined, don’t go nuts.

Pour filling into prepared pan.  Put the spring-form pan inside a larger roasting pan to serve as the water bath.  Put this into the preheated oven, and then add boiling water to the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the spring-form pan.  An electric water kettle works very well for this step.

Bake cake for 45 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 160C (325F), and bake for 30 more minutes, until cake is wobbly in the center.   At this point, turn the oven off and open the door a bit, and let the cake cool slowly in the oven for an hour.  Then let the cake cool at room temperature.  Once the cake is cool to the touch, add the butterscotch topping.

To make the butterscotch topping, if you have Israeli ribat chalav, beat together the ribat chalav, shemenet metukah, and powdered sugar for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.  Pour the topping over the cheesecake and smooth with a spatula if necessary.     If you are in the US, or don’t have ribat chalav, if I were you I would try the smitten kitchen recipe because Deb Perelman has never steered me wrong.

After you add the topping, store the cheesecake uncovered in the fridge overnight.  Before serving, run a knife around the edges of the cake before you unhook the spring-form pan.  Good luck and enjoy!!


One thought on “Post Game Analysis: The Ultimate Cheesecake

  1. I’m so excited to try this out this weekend! Thank you so much for sharing the results of your analysis.

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