This is such a festive looking dessert and perfect for a celebratory meal such as New Years Eve. There are lots of recipes out there for cheesecake but this is the best one I’ve come across. It not only has great flavour but a wonderful texture too without a hint of claggy cream cheese overload that’s the hallmark of so many cheesecakes. This dessert does take a while to make, not in actual hands on time, just in the baking and cooling process but it’s so worth it. The good news is though that it can be made a few days before you need it and in fact tastes better the longer it sits. The most important tip is to make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature, especially the cream cheese – it really needs to be left out overnight. The mixed berry topping makes this a real show stopper and I recommend that once the melted recurrent jelly has been added to the berries that you refrigerate them so they can set a little until you’re ready to top the cake. Enjoy and happy New Year everyone!
Ingredients Adapted from Ina Garten
For the crust
200g digestive biscuits, or graham crackers processed to fine crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
80g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
1.2kg cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping
1 cup red currant jelly (not jam)
1 punnet strawberries, halved if large
2 punnets fresh raspberries
1 punnet fresh blueberries
1 punnet fresh blackberries, optional
Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the crust, combine the biscuits, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 24cm springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and up the sides a little. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Raise the oven temperature to 200C. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 120C and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven with the door closed for 15 minutes. The open the door of the oven and let it sit for a further 15 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled.
Wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving. To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss berries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.