Sugar, spice and everything nice – Jozi chef Vuyolwethu Nyoni shares his recipe for a decadent cheesecake. The self-proclaimed cheese lover is fondly known as umpheki (the cook) and is a freelance chef in the bustling city of Johannesburg.
Nyoni shares his recipe for a cheesecake that will blow your mind. With a tart vanilla and strawberry topping, this cheesecake is firm and fudgy, and will leave you begging for more.
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups of cracker crumbs/biscuits
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 pounds (907 grams) cream cheese
- 1¼ cups of granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups of sour cream (crème fraiche)
- 6 large eggs beaten
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla paste
- ¾ cup of sour cream
- ½ cup of confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest, for garnish
- Strawberry syrup for drizzling
- You may add berries if you want it is optional
1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Brush some melted butter along the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin, then line with a circle of baking paper.
2. Fill a big sealable freezer bag halfway with biscuits, press out the air and seal the top. Crush the biscuits into tiny crumbs using a rolling pin or a bottle.
3. Combine the crumbs and rest of the melted butter in a mixing bowl. Press the crumbs into the tin. Compact the crumbs as much as possible in an equal layer with the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm up while you create the cheesecake.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
5. Prepare three small dishes to separate eggs. Now, one at a time, add the eggs and yolks, followed by half of the crème fraiche. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and vanilla paste and combine.
6. Wrap the exterior of the tin with two sheets of broad foil once the base has been thoroughly cold. Make sure the foil covers the edges of the tin more than halfway, then place it in a deep roasting tin. Pour cream cheese filling into base.
7. Then, set the tin containing the cheesecake into a roasting pan filled halfway with hot water. Bake on highest level for an hour or until it looks ready.
8. Turn the oven off, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven, with the door ajar. When cool, remove from the oven and chill thoroughly. Cooling the cheesecake slowly will help to prevent the top from cracking.
9. About half an hour before you want to eat the cheesecake, remove it from the fridge. Sweep a palette knife between the cake and the side of the tin, then carefully unclip the springform. Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate.
10. For the topping: Mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla paste, and crème fraiche. Spread over the top of the cheesecake to conceal any cracks that have formed. Decorate with berries and orange/lemon zest, and drizzle with strawberry syrup.
Chef’s pro tips:
Storage information: Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for several days; freeze for longer storage.
To separate eggs: Gently tap the shell on the side of a shallow bowl to shatter it. Slowly tear the shell apart along the split as cleanly as possible, tipping the yolk into one side of the shell. Allow the white to drip into the dish below. Place the yolk in a separate small bowl. Separate the next egg over a third dish so that if the yolk breaks, it does not contaminate the pristine whites.