Donna Hay and Käsekuchen

There are many reasons why a girl decides to make a cheesecake. A beloved sister flies home to Australia, the weather turns decidedly chilly, or perhaps one’s church is hosting a Pudding Club. Though my recipe collection now languishes back in Australia, I have one from its number committed firmly to memory – a Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake. Donna Hay is not my favourite celebrity chef. How many times can one wrap a chicken breast in prosciutto and call it a recipe? Her team of stylists and photographers do make every page a wonder; I’m not above enjoying my mother’s copies even as she tries indignantly to protect them from the scathe of a cynical daughter. And I’d have to admit that if ever there’s a need to be a little impressive in the kitchen, the Blueberry Swirl is pretty hard to beat. Here are my tips for making it look (almost) as impossible as Donna’s:

Don’t even consider making this without a springform baking tin. Nope.

When drizzling your fruit use a piping bag or something with a narrow pouring lip. Drizzle in thin parallel lines. Less is more – you want plenty of white space. I’ve been known to “bury” half the fruit mixture in the cake before adding the drizzles.

Keep your knife at a ninety degree angle to the cake (very important). Drag it slowly through the lines  in a perpendicular direction. You’ll be having lots of fun, but stop before you go overboard.

Don’t be tempted to exceed the 50-60 minute oven time. The cake should should still wobble when it comes out. Overbaking produces an unglamorous brown colour and grainy texture. Covering the tin with foil helps.

Leave it in the fridge for as long as you can, overnight if possible. Your wobbly cake will become firm and solid. Slice it carefully with a chilled knife. Oh, and if Martha Stewart drops in for a chat, give her my number.


6 Responses to “Donna Hay and Käsekuchen”

  1. 1 Gerri Frederiksen October 25, 2010 at 6:14 am

    It looks mouthwateringly good, Ally!
    In Donna’s defence though, I have to admit that she is my favourite of the celebrity chefs!
    Her receipes are amazingly delicious and so simple and honest. (and not a proscuitto wrapped piece of chicken in sight!)

    It is Natasha’s boyfriend’s birthday on Saturday and I am making a cheesecake, for his birthday dinner, using a very old recipe, from the good old Women’s Weekly…”Caramel Crunch Cheesecake”.
    I have made a few times over the years and it is quite yummy!

    Long may we eat cheesecake!
    Love Gerri..xx

    • 2 mavisandfrank October 25, 2010 at 7:24 am

      Good on you Gerri, I was hoping someone would admit that they love her! She does have a way with simple food that’s for sure. I guess my real issue is the way she churns out books, for example, the “Chicken”, “Vegetables” “Chocolate” series – I object to her re-printing the same recipes from previous books. The cheesecake was a huge hit at the pudding club, which is nice because I bought a spring form pan especially to make it, and I had to guess when choosing which German products to substitute. I’d forgotten how delicious it was!

  2. 3 Rachael October 25, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Hi Mavis,
    I will happily come by for Kaffee und Kuchen if you keep posting pictures like this. And, I answered your scarf question on the blog.

    Give me a ring, I have a parent-teacher thing today, and pick up my license tomorrow … apart from that, we can sort something out!


    • 4 mavisandfrank October 25, 2010 at 7:34 am

      Thanks Rach! I’ve been testing out all the possibilities for German ingredients in a cheesecake. Rewe has philly but it’s the spreadable one so no good. Good ol’ “Ja” frischkäse seemed to work well, and Leibniz for the biscuit base made it genuinely German. I can see us eating it well into the winter 🙂 Thanks for the advice as always, I’m off to look for a toddler-sized scarf. Oh help.

  3. 5 Jo October 31, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I have to agree with Gerri, I do really like Donna Hay. But I can see your point Ally. I think one of the great things is the way she presents her books. It’s as much fun reading the recipe book as actually cooking the meals!! She is a bit repetitious at times, with double ups, and some of them are a bit similar, but as I think I shared with you…her magazines have got Matt more interested in me trying new recipes! And that’s nice when the ideas are coming from him!!

    By the way, the cheesecake looks amazing! I love any berry addition to cheesecakes and that’s easily the most impressive presentation I’ve seen. Good on your for trying new things and substituting. That’s the most fun, using your own interpretation and tweaking things a little. 🙂 Love to you! xo

    • 6 mavisandfrank October 31, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      Hmm, I thought of you as I wrote this Jo! I know you’re a Donna girl and I agree the presentation is flawless. It’s the double ups that bother me, and this sense of consumerism I get from her work. It’s hard to escape the feeling that she’s pursuing sales above all else. But I’m thrilled Matt’s getting into the spirit of things in the kitchen, and from that point of view it can be very helpful to have a regular source of simple recipes, even if some of them are a bit repetitive. Good on you for reminding me. Love to you both xxx

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A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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