Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2010 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Variation: Peach Topped Yogurt Cheesecake
This version made with yogurt cheese gives a cheesecake-like consistency and is lower-in-fat and calories than using reduced fat cream cheese. It also has a wonderful creamy consistency!
CHEESECAKE RECIPE HELP
Hachiya persimmons need to be ripe or as as soft as jelly for this glaze; if not ripened until very soft, they will be inedible and tannic. If they're too hard, let them stand at room temperature for a few days until perfect.
You can use Fuyu persimmons. Simply peel, chop, and whirl in a blender to a smooth puree.
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely ground equals about 9 - 10 full size (2 cracker sheet) (each graham cracker comes in a flat, rectangular sheet)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin*
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur or orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups Yogurt Cheese or Neufchatel cream cheese; For the Yogurt Cheese, drain 2 1/2 to 3 quarts yogurt at least 24 hours in a coffee filter lined colander set over a bowl.
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups Persimmon Topping, recipe, below
NOTE: *If using Neufchatel cream cheese, omit the gelatin in STEP II., #s 2 , 3 and 4.
STEP I: MAKE THE CRUST
1. Position the oven rack to the middle and another shelf, one rung down. Place a 9- x 13-inch pan on the shelf below the middle rack. (You will later fill it with boiling water to produce steam in the oven.)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (don't reduce by 25 degrees F if using a dark, nonstick pan.)
2. Generously grease the bottom and side of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
Optionally, put a disk or parchment paper in the bottom and grease that. (Place pan on paper and trace around, cut). Put ground graham cracker crumbs and sugar and combine right in the pan. Drizzle melted butter over the crumbs to moisten and mix until moistened. Press into the bottom of the pan and 1/2-inch up the sides, if desired. Set aside in the refrigerator.
3. Bake crust until slightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a wire cake rack to cool.
4. Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees F.
STEP II: MAKE THE CHEESECAKE
1. Make sure the oven is NOW heated to 325 degrees F. (don't reduce by 25 degrees F if using a dark, nonstick pan. )
2. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, mix gelatin with 2 tablespoons cold water; let stand until softened, about 1 minute.
3. Stir over medium-low heat until gelatin is dissolved, about 45 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur and vanilla. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on low speed, beat the yogurt cheese until softened.
Add in the sugar and gelatin mixture and beat on low until smooth.
Take care not to beat air bubbles into the mixture.
5. Beat in eggs, one at a time on low, until the mixture is smooth and blended.
Pour the mixture into the slightly cooled or already cooled crust.
6. Place the cheesecake on a foil lined baking sheet and put in oven. Immediately pour about an inch of boiling hot water in the heated pan below and shut the door.
7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center jiggles only slightly when tapped with the handle of a wooden spoon.
The center circle will wobble a bit more and look wet, more than the sides, but not be soupy.
Remove the pan of water from the oven once the water has cooled.
8. Cool cake on a rack for about 1 hour or more, then chill, uncovered, until cold, at least 2 hours, before covering.
Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill it at least 12 hours, preferably for 24 hours
9. Meanwhile make the Persimmon Topping.
STEP III: MAKE THE PERSIMMON TOPPING
2 or 3 soft-ripe Hachiya persimmons (each 2 1/2 to 3 in. wide, about 1 1/2 lb. total); you need 1 1/2 cups pureed for the recipe; can also use peaches, peeled and pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon orange extract or 2 teaspoons orange peel
1. Rinse 2 or 3 soft-ripe Hachiya persimmons.
2. Cut them in half and scoop out the soft flesh; discard stems and peels.
3. In a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the flesh until puréed. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for this recipe.
You may have some extra. Freeze extra.
4. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, mix the sugar with the cornstarch. Add the 1 1/2 cups persimmon purée.
5. Stir persimmon mixture over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in the orange extract or peel.
6. Place pan in a large bowl of ice water and stir mixture until it's cool but still fluid, about 3 minutes.
STEP IV: TOP THE CHEESECAKE
1. Immediately spread the cooled Persimmon Topping over the well-chilled cheesecake.
2. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour or more, before unmolding the cheesecake to serve.
3. To unmold, remove the side and bottom of the springform pan. Or if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate.
4. Keep the cheesecake refrigerated.
Cover cheesecake when glaze is set and refrigerate for up to a few days, tightly covered with plastic wrap.
The cheesecake can be frozen for 2 months, well-wrapped, but the Persimmon Topping will not hold up as well.
Thaw in the refrigerator in its wrappers. Cut almost thawed for clean and neat cuts.
Peach Topped Yogurt Cheesecake: Substitute and equal amount of peaches for the persimmons in the topping