Perhaps it is fitting that my travel blog begins first at home, and in my past. Here is my mother’s cheese cake recipe, which I mentioned in my Introduction, Part I.
My mother warned me of its fussy nature, and I discovered first-hand the problems of which she spoke: when I tried this cake for the first time, it was a DISASTER. In fact, it was the first time I had ever failed a dessert 😦 What was the problem? The cottage cheese, whose lumps must be smoothed out 100 percent while preparing the batter, or else the cake will be a failure. When I first made the cake, I did not do this, and when I tasted the cheesecake, there were big chewy lumps of cottage cheese curd found throughout the cake. Disgusting. But, a solution is to be had! Put the cottage cheese in the blender before mixing it in, and the batter will turn out perfectly! Yay.
On the other hand, if you prepare the cake properly, it is divine. Three L’s come to mind: light, luscious and lemony.
One more note for my European readers: owing to the difficulties in finding sour cream in Belgium, I use crème fraîche épaisse with a bit of extra lemon added. I find that the Crème Fraîche d’Isigny best approximates the sour cream taste. Furthermore, the Luxlait-brand cottage cheese – the main brand found in Belgian grocery stores – is not appropriate for this cheesecake: it is salty and the curdled lumps are far too hard. Get some proper cottage cheese from your local fromagerie.
So without further ado, here is the recipe, in both American-style measurements and metric:
- 450g/ 1 lb Cottage cheese
- 600g/ 2 large containers Philadelphia cream cheese
- 450g/ 1 lb sour cream
- 115g/ ¼ lb softened butter
- 340g / 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 Tbsp. Flour
- 3 Tbsp. Cornflour (I use Maïzena)
- 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- Juice ½ lemon, plus more to taste
Cream the cottage cheese and cream cheese, add sugar gradually, add eggs. Beat well, stir in lemon juice, vanilla, flour, cornstarch, and butter and mix until smooth. Smooth is the operative word! Then blend in sour cream and pour batter into a greased springform pan. Bake in oven @ 325 °F/160°C for one hour and allow cake to remain in oven for two more hours. Do not open oven during those three hours! Cool cake on rack, after a while you can loosen the ring, but don’t remove it until you are ready to cool the cheese cake in the refrigerator.