Updated: Dec 30, 2022
For the longest time, cheesecakes felt like a luxury. It used to be a dessert that I made sure to order every time I visited a different city brimming with attractive cafes and restaurants.
That feeling of luxury existed maybe until 12 months ago when I made my first cheesecake. It was then that I realized just how simple and easy a dessert cheesecake is. It's got two main components, and it requires you to assemble it and then chuck it into an oven.
Since then, I have made a few cheesecakes. I've tried different cheesecake flavors, various sizes, and even dabbled into the revered no-bake cheesecake (I have to say I prefer a baked cheesecake over a no-bake one any day). Finally, I could hone my cheesecake skills and narrow down on a recipe for the most uncomplicated and incredibly delicious baked cheesecake.
Cheesecakes are to be eaten cold, and I know it's a contrasting dessert for the winter season that has set in. However, a cheesecake is still so delicious, you can't help but eat it despite the weather outside!
This blog post contains my recipe for a creamy, dreamy baked cheesecake with a rich homemade coulis made using fresh plums. It's a super easy recipe, and keep reading to know all about it.
What goes into this cheesecake?
A cheesecake is pretty straightforward; it's a cake made out of cheese. Now, I know that sounds gross because cheese and cake shouldn't go together, right? But it does, and it's all because of the type of cheese we use to make a cheesecake.
Cream cheese is the variety that's mostly used to make cheesecakes. It's a soft and mild cheese that gives a beautiful, stand-alone flavor to the cheesecake. It adds a bit of tang and lifts up the complementary flavors too.
Going back to what I was talking about earlier, how cheesecakes felt like a luxury, the biggest reason for that was the unavailability of cream cheese in my local grocery stores. What I didn't realize back then was how simple it is to make cream cheese at home. It really is an easy process and takes maybe 20 minutes to whip up some fresh, homemade cream cheese. If you're looking for a way to make cream cheese at home, I have a step by step guide on my Instagram, which you can find by clicking on this.
The filling of a cheesecake doesn't just contain cream cheese. You will also need some fresh cream*. Since this is an eggless recipe, we will be using condensed milk and cornstarch, and some vanilla for flavoring.
The second component in any cheesecake is the crust. I use a crust made using crushed digestive biscuits and melted butter. You only need these two ingredients to make an incredible cheesecake crust.
That covers the cheesecake part of this recipe, but there's still one more component left to talk about, and that's the plum coulis.
A coulis is nothing but a sauce made out of fresh fruit, plums in this case. I make my plum coulis by chopping up the plums and cooking them down with some sugar, water, whole cinnamon, and cloves. The coulis is cooked until I achieve a thick, dark reddish-purple mixture. You will need to break down your plum coulis in a food processor before serving. I process mine until I have small lumps of the fruit left. You can also process further and sieve to get a smooth, syrupy consistency.
What do I need to make this cheesecake?
The most important tool you need to make this cheesecake, or any cheesecake for that matter, is a springform cake pan. A springform pan is one that comes with detachable sides that can be separated from the bottom. This allows easy unmoulding of the cheesecake because you cannot turn it over onto another surface like a regular cake baked in a regular cake pan. For this recipe, you'll need a 7-inch round springform pan.
You will require an additional larger pan that is more than three inches deep and some aluminum foil. This is to bake the cheesecake submerged in hot water to ensure that it doesn't dry out and crack.
You will also need a wire whisk, and a rubber spatula for the cheesecake. For the crust, you will need a food processor or a large/heavy rolling pin to crush the biscuits. Apart from these, you will need 2-3 mixing bowls.
For the plum coulis, you will need a heavy-bottomed saucepan and a rubber spatula.
The Recipe for Baked Cheesecake With Plum Coulis
Yields: 7-inch cheesecake
Time: 1.5 hours plus chilling
224 grams (1 ½ cup) powdered digestive biscuits
60 grams (¼ cup) melted butter
255 grams (1 ¼ cup) room temperature cream cheese
90 grams (½ cup) fresh cream*
195 grams (¾ cup) sweetened condensed milk
10 grams (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
15 grams (2 tablespoons) cornstarch
142 grams (¾ cup) plums, chopped, and seeds removed
25 grams (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
25 grams (1 ¾ tablespoon) water
5 grams (2 teaspoons) cornstarch mixed with 10 grams (¾ tablespoon) water [optional]
A pinch of salt
Grease the sides and bottom of a 7-inch springform pan. Take some tin foil and wrap it around the pan, especially the lower part, securely. Set the pan aside.
Add the digestive biscuit crumbs into a mixing bowl and combine it with the melted butter until you have a sand-like texture.
Dump the biscuit mixture into the greased springform pan, spread it around and press it in, use your fingers, the back of a spoon, or a spatula to press down the crust evenly.
Chill the crust in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 160°C and boil about 2 cups of water.
To make the filling, in a separate bowl, use a wire whisk to mix the cream cheese, condensed milk, vanilla extract, and fresh cream until combined.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the cornstarch into the cream cheese mixture.
Carefully pour the cream cheese filling over the set crust and spread it into the pan evenly with the spatula.
Place your springform pan in a larger, deeper oven-safe pan.
Pour the boiling water into the larger pan so that the springform pan is submerged one-inch deep.
Safely place it on top of your rack in the preheated oven. Bake the cheesecake at 160°C for about 55 minutes.
After it has baked, turn your oven off and open its door, don't remove the cheesecake. Let it cool in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour until the larger pan's water is completely cool to the touch.
Once the cheesecake is cooled, cover the top of the springform pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 6-8 hours or, ideally, overnight.
Run an offset spatula or a blunt knife around the cheesecake before loosening the springform pan.
To make the plum coulis, add your chopped plums to a saucepan, add the granulated sugar and the whole spices, along with a tiny pinch of salt.
Place the saucepan on medium-low heat and add the water.
Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the plums are all mushy.
Carefully remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.
You should have a thick yet pourable coulis. Stir in the cornstarch mixture if you want your coulis to be thicker.
Let the plum coulis cool down a little before adding it to a food processor.
Pulse the plum coulis a couple of times until you have a pulpy looking mixture.
You can also pulse it for longer and sieve it to achieve a smooth coulis, but it is optional.
Spoon the coulis on your cooled cheesecake and serve.
You can also make this cheesecake in a larger pan; just increase the quantities of the ingredients.
Alternatively, you can also make individual cheesecakes in a muffin tin, but make sure to bake them for roughly 40 minutes.
You can also change the quantities depending on whether you want more crust or more filling.
*The initial recipe used whipped cream instead of fresh cream, but after further trials and a lot of learning I realised using fresh cream works so much better. Happy baking :)