Happy Chinese New Year! This year is the Year of the Dragon! I’m proud to be born in the year of Dragon, the most auspicious zodiac among the 12 chinese zodiacs signs. I preparing a dessert for a potluck-cum-gathering. And the first thing that came up to my mind is JellyHearts Cheesecake! It’s simple and easy as it requires no baking and the best part is, you don’t need to use any baking equippment here!
This recipe originates from the Jellyhearts Cheesecake recipe. Except that I used grapes instead of strawberries. This recipe serves up to 12-14 people.
You Will Need
1. Digestive Biscuits ( 12 pieces )
– To make the base of the cake
2. Butter ( 1/3 of the 250g Bar of Butter)
– To solidify the base by gluing the crumbs of the biscuits together.
– Giving a nice buttery taste and crunch to the cake itself.
3. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (250g, the whole bar of cheese)
– To make the cheese filling for the cake
4. Whipping Cream (100ml)
– To add a creamier and runny texture to the cream cheese mix.
– To lighten the “cheese” taste.
– To fluff up the cream cheese mix.
5. Fine Sugar ( 1 tablespoon)
– To be added in the cream cheese mix.
6. Gelatin ( 1 tablespoon)
– To be added in the cream cheese mix to gel and firm up the filling.
7. Jelly Power ( 1 packet )
– To top of the layer of the cream cheese filling
8. Sweet Grapes / Blackcurrant
9. Cinnamon Powder ( 1 Tablespoon )
– To be added together with the biscuit base
– To “spice” up the biscuit base.
10. Vanilla Essence ( 1 Teaspoon)
– Add half a teaspoon into the biscuit mix
– Add half a teaspoon into the cream cheese mix.
All Ingredients are available in local supermarkets like NTUC.
Digestive Biscuits, $2.40
A packet of digestive biscuits has about 20 pieces of biscuits. A packet of it should be sufficient for this recipe.
I took out about 15 biscuits to make the cake base. But I realise, the base layer was quite thick. I recommend using about 12 biscuits.
When it comes to baking, I can be quite helpless because I lack of the essential baking equippment like whisk, baking pan or food processor. So I had to prepare the ingredients using my hands or simple utensils like your everyday fork and spoon. To turn these biscuits into crumbs, I actually stuff the biscuits into a big plastic bag and using the grip or handle of the kitchen scissors, I hit and crushed the biscuits into bits. It can be quite time comsuming but it’s definitely a good workout for your hand muscles. Alternatively, you may want to use a food processor to crush the biscuits into tiny, fine crumbs.
Next, to solidify the biscuit crumbs layer, I added melted butter into the biscuits crumbs. When it comes to cooking or preparing food, I like to practise “estimation” or in the Singaporean context, we called it “agaration” or “ah-gar, ah-gar” which meant “it’s about there”. I tend to get a little anxious when I look at a recipe that requires a certain or fix amount/ volume of ingredients. It freaks me out because I find it a hassle to measure and weigh them on a weighing scale to make sure the amount is just right. To measure the amount of butter required for this recipe, I cut out about 5cm ( breadthwise) of butter. Using the blade of my knife, I made a gridlines (1cm apart, along the breadth) to make a rough estimation of the length. Then, I popped the chunk of butter into the microwave for about 15 seconds.
Once it’s done, pour in the melted butter into the bowl full of biscuit crumbs and mix it well. In this recipe, I also added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder into the crumbs. Then press the biscuits crumbs onto the base of the container or glass dish (like the one shown above). I like to line the glass dish with aluminium foil so that I could lift up the cake easily by pulling the sides of the foil. This also prevents the base of the cake from sticking to the glass dish.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese, $5.25
Next comes the main ingredient, CREAM CHEESE!!! Leave the cream cheese at room temperature for about 15 minutes to thaw the cheese. To further soften the cream cheese, place the whole chunk of cheese (250g) into the microwave oven. Then, put it into a huge mixing bowl and using a fork, whisk the mixture.
Whipping cream, $4.25.
Then, add 100ml of whip cream. That’s about half a packet of whipping cream I am using here.As I didn’t not have a whisk at home, I didn’t not to whisk the cream into whipped cream. Instead, I just pour out the contents into the huge mixing bowl and mix it together with the cream cheese using a fork. As whipping cream is pretty expensive, you might want to use milk or yoghurt instead so as to soften and liquify the cream cheese mix. The cream cheese itself can be very thick and creamy which makes it quite difficuit to pour out the filling. In addition, the taste of the cream cheese could be too strong or cheesy for some. The milk or whip cream will help to “lighten up” the cream cheese taste.
We are using gelatine here to firm up the texture of the cream cheese filling. Add about 1 tablespoon of gelation into a small bowl and pour some boiling hot water to dissolve the gelatin.
The dissolved gelation has a rubbery and plastic smell. Thus, do not add too much of it into the cream cheese mixture. It might ruin the taste of the filling!
Add the dissolved gelatine into the cream cheese mixture and mix it well til you get a smooth,creamy texture that is not too runny. Remember to add a few drops of vanilla essence and a tablespoonful of fine sugar! (When preparing this cake, I had forgotten to add in the Vanilla essence!) I did not add too much sugar into the mixture because the jelly mix I bought has quite a substantial amount of sugar in it. If the jelly topping tasted sweet, I would like the cake filling to taste a little sour or bland to balance the sweetness of the cake.
Pour the filling into the glass dish. It’s almost done! Then, I added some cut grapes and place it gently on the cream cheese mix. I chilled the cake overnight.
The next morning, I prepare the jelly topping by dissolving the jelly crystals ( rasberry flavour) in hot water and pur gently on top of the cream cheese filling. I would say that I wasn’t quite successful in doing it because there are some bits of cream cheese filling that floated up while I poured the jelly mix.