Monday, December 05, 2011

Cheesecake citrouille céleste

Munson guarding the kitchen triangleCheesecake citrouille céleste

Some weeks ago a recipe for a pumpkin cheesecake floated past me in my newsreader. I haven’t attempted a cheesecake since my first attempt, a chocolate one I produced for my twenty-fifth birthday, and that’s so many months ago now I’m starting from scratch.

I scanned the ingredients list to see if there was anything I’d need to search out: Biscuit crumbs for the base and cream cheese for the filling. Packets of digestive biscuits are easy enough to find on the wee slice of the supermarket shelf designed for les Anglaises et les étrangers, but cream cheese in the land of seventy million cheeses?

There is a lot of intense debate on ex-pat, cooking and linguistic forums about the appropriate terminology and examplars of cream cheese. The French Neufchâtel was the inspiration for the Americans who produced cream cheeses of which Philadelphia is the Hoover, Kleenex or Xerox of this world. There are a few small 150g tubs of Philly cheese at the supermarket, but rather on the pricy side.  I’m also a little suspicious that even with the common labelling it’s any more like the US product than American Neufchâtel is like its forebear.  Looking over the shelves I deduced that St. Moret was a suitable local equivalent. A quick finger sample at home indicated it was a bit saltier than Philly, but the consistency was fine.  In all, a decent substitute for my first attempt.

By the time I got to putting it all together yesterday, another recipe had supplanted the original. With a name like Heavenly Pumpkin cheesecake from the Australian Not Quite Nigella cooking blog, how could I resist? Plus Nigella herself frequents these parts on occasion when visiting her father.

The pumpkin part of the recipe was simply a half kilo of butternut pumpkin boiled till soft as though I was going to make a mash. I drained it and threw it in the blender with the St. Moret, eggs, sugar and lemon zest. I used my small meat tenderizing hammer to break up the biscuits for the base.

Pre-baked assemblage in silicone pan in baking dishThe recipe calls for a springform cake tin, and the one I used to have has disappeared to the great moving company in the sky, so I decided to buy a silicone pan. From having a surfeit of unused bakeware I now find I don’t have quite enough to support the volume of oven traffic that Gustav and I are generating between us. Using the silicone bakeware in place of a springform meant that I didn’t have to wrap the whole contraption in cling film and foil to make an impermeable barrier against the water bath it would sit in while in the oven.

Quite handily the inner pan’s grips overlapped my baking tray’s edges, so it was every so slightly suspended and then eventually supported by the boiling water I poured in around it. 90 minutes in the oven at 160C and all done!

Silicone pan rolls away from cheesecakeThe bottom of the silicone tray is a bit saggy so I popped the whole thing in a round ceramic  dish while it cooled down and then left it in the fridge overnight.

When I withdrew it, the silicone folded back from the cake so easily, and then carefully supporting the base with outstretched hand I transferred it to a flat surface.  In the adjacent photo I’ve left the silicone pan inside out.
P1070425The taste? Célestial, mes chers!

It’s very light and fluffy, slightly more lemon-y than pumpkin-y with the zest that was added, and no trace of saltiness from the St. Moret cheese.

I really like the way that the biscuit base has produced a marbled effect around the sides. As the recipe suggested my 23cm (9”) pan was probably a bit too large for the ingredient quantities to create a crust around the edge.

All in all, spectacular result from very little effort.

Now to check out the choc-almond biscuits that Gustav is preparing….


  1. I think St-Moret is saltier than Philadelphia cream cheese too. But at SuperU, and at ED, I've found a cream cheese just called fromage à tartiner that is better, IMO, than either the U.S. or the French brand-name product. I think the SuperU fromage à tartiner comes from Denmark. Wonder if you have SuperU down there.

  2. I do like the photo of the Malamute sneaking a look around the corner.

  3. I shall watch out for that Ken. I remember that there were a lot of SuperU stores now in the Haute-Garonne but not so much in the Gers. According to their store-map they're all quite a way from here.

  4. Now I've been picked up by ZONE PUMPKIN ONLINE. OMG I have made it in the culinary world!

  5. That looks good. I'll have to try it out next year when I plan to have more pumpkins in the garden. I've already used up this year's harvest!

  6. That looks delicious and I loved this cheesecake too-the texture was just so lovely and light!


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