Look at what I found when browsing WordPress: the Moonlight Baker’s Nutella Layer Cheesecakes. Does that not sound like heaven in a little squashy rectangle? I believe it does. Apart from directing me, once again, to the Nutella aisle, it also gave me an opportunity to investigate baked cheesecakes for the first time, something I’ve been plucking up the courage to do for a while. When I was little, a cheesecake meant a frozen, sculpted-cream frisbee with a gravelly base and a dollop of astringent berries on the top, which we had for dessert when people came for dinner. After that horrific early experience, I went off cheesecakes entirely, but baked cheesecakes are the reason I got back on the straight and narrow. Tesco does a vanilla New York variety that I could eat in one sitting, but which, thankfully, is slightly too expensive for casual purchases.

The difficulty with the Moonlight Baker’s recipe is that it’s American, which meant some things got lost in translation. Having listened very carefully to the Other Half’s explanation of what chocolate graham crackers are (and how you must never, never pronounce them ‘gra-ham’), I came to the conclusion that they aren’t sold here. I also didn’t know what ‘heavy cream’ was, and had to seek advice from US expatriates. I substituted Oreo cookies and double cream, respectively, and had to hope it would do.

This is another food-processor recipe, but the quantities were just small enough that I could use my silly little food mixer and fit it all in. First you crumble the Oreos (one packet was enough) until they’re a fine powder, then mix in some melted butter to help the crumbs stick together. This biscuity sand is spread over the bottom of a lined baking tin.

No, you can't eat them yet.

Give the food mixer a rinse, and then move on to the cheesecake. This is cream cheese, sugar, eggs, double cream and vanilla extract, all dumped in the mixer and pulsed together. Once you have the main mixture, you decant two-thirds of it, and add a couple of Nutella spoonfuls to the rest. And here, predictably, is where things started to go off the beaten track. Looking at the delicious photo on the blog (and my goodness, I love it when someone really knows how to take a good food photo), the consistency of the cheesecake mix is supposed to be…well, cheesy. Once I’d added eggs to my cream cheese and mixed it up a bit, the consistency of my mixture was more like thick cream. I don’t know whether my mixer is over-enthusiastic or whether cream cheese is any denser in the States. Whatever the reason, my two layers of cheesecake didn’t so much ‘layer’ as ‘intermingle’. Heigh-ho, I thought: a marbled cheesecake it is. In the oven with you.

After 30 minutes in the oven the mixture had risen and darkened alarmingly – definitely more yellow than white, and looking more cooked than I’d expected. I crossed my fingers and put it in the fridge for the recommended three hours, before cutting it into little squares.

And the verdict: well, you wouldn’t eat these for the looks. The marbling just doesn’t work as well as the layers, and the yellow looks distinctly eggy and off-putting (something which would’ve been avoided if the vanilla layer had been completely covered by the Nutella layer).

Erm. Yummy?

They’re a little moister and denser than cheesecake should be, too: more like what the French would call flan. But, wonder of wonders, they do actually taste like cheesecake. The Oreo base works wonderfully with the vanilla, and the Nutella is distinctive without being too overpowering.

I haven’t yet worked out how to make the cheesecake mixture thicker, but it might be worth using smaller eggs so there’s less liquid, mixing by hand instead of in the food mixer, and/or using extra thick cream instead of double cream. We’ll see. Because they didn’t last long in our house even just with 2.75 of us eating them, so I’ll definitely be trying again soon.

Deliciousness: Taste couldn’t be faulted. Texture and appearance left a little to be desired. Not yet a dessert for guests, methinks.

Complexity: The worst part was washing up the food mixer three times. That aside, fairly straightforward.

Washing-up pile: Eleven, with two mixing bowls and the dratted food mixer being the worst of it.

Casualties: None in our house, though I can’t be responsible for what the neighbours might’ve done after half an hour of solid food mixing. It sounds like a rusty power drill. Attached to an old cat.

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