I am not a voracious cheesecake eater, though I love tasting just one bite to feel the creaminess and perfect crust-to-filling ratio. But that doesn’t always happen, so until now, only Nigella Lawson’s Mango Cheesecake can tempt me to eat a whole slice. This week, Montreal-based art director and food stylist Christelle is trying to compromise my loyalty to Nigella with her recipe for Raspberry and Rosewater Cheesecake. It is the result of repeated attempts to recreate the perfect cheesecake she once tasted. Don’t worry if you can’t find fresh raspberries in your hemisphere — frozen raspberries work perfectly. If you prefer a cheesecake made with ricotta cheese, try Dani Fisher’s fabulous version from our archives. — Kristina
About Christelle: Christelle, author of the food blog Christelle is flabbergasting, is a French expatriate who works as an art director and freelance food stylist in Montreal, Canada. Through her blog, she shares her best recipes, which are inspired by her family, the memories imprinted on her taste buds and her travels. She also shares city guides of her best spots around the world (all of which she hopes to discover!) among other fun stories. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
The full recipe continues after the jump . . .
Raspberry and Rosewater Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 250 g (8 oz.) “Biscuits Rose de Reims” cookies (you can find these in French or European specialty food shops, or replace them with your favorite cookies: Digestive, Speculoos, etc.)
- 90 g (3 oz.) butter
For the filling:
- 750 g (three 8 oz. packs) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp. rosewater (1 tbsp. more or less, according to taste)
For the raspberry topping:
- 185 g (1 1/2 cup) frozen raspberries
- 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. corn starch
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
- 1 tbsp. rosewater
Make the crust:
Finely grind the “Biscuits Rose de Reims” cookies and mix in well with the butter. Butter an 8-inch (22 cm) springform pan and press the cookie mixture evenly into the pan using the bottom of a glass or spoon (and up the sides if you wish, as well). Put aside in the freezer.
Prepare the filling:
1. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Gradually add each egg and rosewater while beating on low speed until the texture is creamy.
2. Place the springform pan with the crust on a baking sheet (to prevent dripping) and pour the filling evenly into the crust.
3. Place the baking sheet with the cheesecake in the middle rack of the oven.
4. Fill another large-edged pan (like a dripping pan) with water and place it on the lowest oven rack (this keeps the cheesecake moist).
5. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes at 300ºF (150ºC). Once the oven has been turned off, let the cake cool inside the oven and leave the door closed.
6. Once it is completely cooled, put it in the refrigerator overnight.
Make the raspberry topping:
1. Place the sugar and corn starch in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat. Add water and stir well.
2. Add the frozen raspberries and crush them using a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir continually for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Though I did not do this in my photos, you can strain the raspberry topping if you like, to remove the seeds.
3. Remove cake from the pan and transfer to a plate. Spread the topping over the chilled cheesecake and decorate with fresh raspberries. Refrigerate for an hour (or not, if you can’t resist the urge!).
4. Top with fresh raspberries if you have them.
Why Christelle Chose This Recipe
I am one of the biggest cheesecake fans you will probably come across. This passion was ignited when I lived in Barcelona (not New York!) and where I tasted the best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten, prepared by a friend of mine. Despite begging her to share her recipe, she never revealed it. Since then, I’ve searched for the best cheesecake recipe: not too sweet, not too big, not too heavy. This one is a twist on the traditional version, using “Biscuits Rose de Reims” cookies and rosewater. It’s fragrant, smooth and very delicate. Now I no longer have the need to send emails to this friend of mine! ;)
Portrait by Frederic Dupuis