Whenever I’m in charity shops or second-hand bookstores, I always take a look at the cooking section. The usual selection goes something like this: The Low GI Cookbook, The South Beach Diet, 101 Ways with Mince, Microwave Chinese Cooking. It’s these appliance-specific cookbooks that I find really entertaining. Ever wanted to try roasting a suckling pig in the microwave? Me neither.

However, I am a bit of a devote of one book in the same genre: Margaret Fulton’s Book of Food Processor Cooking. (You can snaffle one on ebay for about $5.)

My childhood favourite from this book is the baked cheesecake. (Please remember that this book is from the 1980s – an era when your everyday Australian, outside the Italian neighbourhoods, hadn’t ever seen a tub of ricotta.)  The cheesecake recipe uses cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream on an arrowroot biscuit base.

I know some people won’t agree with me, but I’ve never really loved the biscuit base of cheesecakes, even the really tasty ones made from graham crackers or ginger biscuits. So I’ve tweaked MF’s recipe a bit so that there is less biscuit base and twice as much cheese. I’d still make the smaller version (which is half of all the ingredients below to a ratio of 250 grams of biscuits and 60 grams of butter for the base) as the right size for a dinner party, but this one is great for feeding a crowd.

I should add that I’ve made this a few times without a food processor. It’s ok, but takes ages and is much easier if you do have one.

Baked cheesecake

  • 80-100 grams melted butter
  • 300 grams rich tea biscuits
  • 500 grams cottage cheese
  • 400 grams cream cheese
  • 375 mls cream cheese
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/3 cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 150 C. Crush the biscuits and blend with the butter. Press these into a greased round 23 cm spring-form tin. Blend the cheeses. Add all the other ingredients, except the egg whites. Blend. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture. Pour over the biscuit base. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cook in the oven with the door slightly ajar.

Serve cold with either fresh strawberries and sugar left for a few minutes to draw out juices, or with warm caramelised pears.

Cheesecake with strawberries

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