Whenever I start harboring thoughts of giving up blogging altogether, all I needed to do was to try something new(to me)...be it a new ingredient, a new baking method or a new recipe.
I happened to come across this Apricot Soufflé Cheesecake recipe from a cookbook which I borrowed from the library(the second time) and somehow it caught my attention this time...I have no memories of it when I first borrowed the same book a couple of years back (^^")
There is nothing new in this recipe...there is no new ingredients since I have already tried baking with apricots. There is no new baking method involved as the preparation is similar to baking a chiffon cake. The only new things I could think of is the combination of apricots with cheesecake, and baking cheesecakes in ramekins.
The cheesecake rose beautifully, well above the rims of the ramekins while they were in the oven. They started sinking as I left them to cool. I wonder, if I had given each of them a bang on the table when they were right out of the oven, would it help to prevent them from sinking that much?
It is stated in the cookbook that this dessert is best served before the cake starts shrinking and sinking, which means it is best served warm or almost immediately when it comes out of the oven, just like a soufflé. I didn't have the chance to sample the cake while they were still all puffed up. By the time I was done taking pictures, the cakes were well sunken. Nevertheless, the texture was still soft, fluffy and moist. I offered one to my younger child and he ate it in silence. We were not on speaking terms that day as he felt that it was unreasonable of me to scold him for not taking care of his things ;( Anyway, he devoured the cake in no time and I noticed him licking up the crumbs from the ramekin. Under normal circumstances, he would have asked for a second helping. I broke the silence and offered him another serving. He gladly took it and enjoyed the very last crumb, still in silence.
I kept the leftovers in the fridge for my elder child. When left to chill over night, the texture became rather dense, tasted rich and quite similar to a new york style cheese cake. I personally prefer the lighter version but my younger child liked both.
If you are keen to give this a try, I would suggest to use fresh apricots instead of canned ones. The canned apricots I bought was a tad too sour for my liking. I think to replace the apricots with peach slices or even strawberries would be a delightful variation as well.
Apricot Soufflé Cheesecake
250g cream cheese, cut into cubes, room temperature
30g caster sugar
30g butter, room temperature
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract (optional)
45g cake flour
2 egg whites
50g caster sugar
8 apricot halves, canned or fresh
some extra butter for greasing
some icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 170 degC.
- Grease 8 ramekins with some butter, set aside (size of ramekin: diameter 9cm, height 5cm).
- Sieve cake flour, set aside.
- Wash canned apricots halves (to remove the syrup), drain and set aside. If using fresh apricots, use a knife to cut around the fruit, break into halves and remove the pit. Wash, drain and set aside.
- With an electric whisk or stand mixer, beat cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add in the caster sugar and beat till smooth, stop to scrape down sides of bowl when needed. Add in the butter, beat till smooth.
- Add in the egg yolks gradually and beat till incorporated. Beat in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, if using.
- Add half the amount of flour, beat till incorporated. Add half the amount of milk, beat till incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour followed by the remaining milk. (Note: when beating in the milk, the batter may form small lumps initially, continue to beat and the lumps will dissolve. Alternatively, add in the milk gradually as you beat to avoid lumps from forming.)
- In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric whisk on low speed until mixture becomes frothy and foamy. Add half of the sugar and turn to medium-high speed and beat the mixture. Continue to add in the remaining sugar mixture in separate additions and beat until the egg whites reaches the soft peak stage.The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. Turn to low speed and beat for another 1 to 2 mins (this helps to stabilise the air bubbles).
- Add the beaten egg whites to the cream cheese mixture in 2 separate additions, each time fold with a rubber spatula (I prefer to use a balloon whisk) until just blended.
- Pour batter into the prepared ramekins till 80% full. Place ramekins in a baking tray.
- Place on middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 mins. (Note: the top may start to crack, but it is perfectly alright.)
- Remove ramekins from oven and top each ramekin with an apricot halve. Return ramekins into oven and continue to bake for another 15 to 20mins until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly. Dust with icing sugar, optional. For light fluffy texture, serve immediately. Alternatively, for a dense cheesecake texture, leave to cool completely and chill in the fridge for about 2 to 3 hours, best overnight, before serving.