Kaycee, thank you for inviting me to Crafty Zoo to post a favorite recipe. Readers of my mystery story, Three Sisters, will know that the main character, Emily Castles, is not a very good cook. Fortunately this is not one of her recipes and it works very well. It’s an easy baked cheesecake recipe taken from a book called Cheesecakes by Maggie Black. I often make it for family parties and it’s very popular.
I’m English and we would call the base for this cheesecake a biscuit base. I buy the hard-baked, shop-bought plain kind like Rich Tea or Plain Digestive and smash them up in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, or put them in the food processor until they’re crumbs. I think that American readers would usually use Graham Crackers, though if you can get hold of Rich Tea or Plain Digestive biscuits, do give them a go. An American friend suggested trying Oreo cookies, which sounds amazing, though I haven’t tried it.
We don’t use cup measurements for baking, we use ounces (oz) and fluid ounces (fl oz) so I have left those measurements in but converted them to cups.
Maryland Party Cheesecake (serves 10-12)
1/3 cup (3 ½ oz) butter (a stick of butter)
1/3 cup (2 oz) light soft brown sugar
1 ½ cups (8 oz) Graham cracker crumbs from 24 crackers
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 eggs, separated
1 cup (8 fl oz) soured cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup (8 oz) castor sugar
1/3 cup (2 oz) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1lb full-fat soft cheese e.g. Philadelphia cream cheese.
Line the base of a 9 inch loose-based cake tin. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. Sieve the soft brown sugar into a bowl then add the crumbs, cinnamon and nutmeg, mix, then work the butter into it. Press the crumb mixture all over the base and about an inch up the sides of the cake tin. Chill the base while making the filling.
Beat the egg yolks until thick, and then beat in the soured cream and the vanilla essence. Mix 2/3 cup (6 oz) of the caster sugar with the flour and salt, and beat in the soft cheese a little at a time. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until fairly stiff, adding the remaining 1/3 cup (2 oz) caster sugar while doing so. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cheese mixture. Turn gently into the chilled base in the cake tin and bake at 325F, Gas Mark 3, for one hour. Cool in the turned-off oven with the door ajar. Remove from the tin and chill for at least one hour before serving.
I hope you enjoy it if you decide to follow the recipe.
Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of bestselling cult novel Alison Wonderland and other books and plays.
Originally posted 2013-02-09 06:00:00.