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French Cheesecake

Author/Submitted by:
Servings: 16
Categories: Cheesecakes / Desserts


1 1/2  cups  Unbleached flour, sifted
1  large  Egg, separated, yolk lightly beaten
1/4  cup  Sugar, granulated, up to 1/3 to taste
1/2  cup  Butter, unsalted, sweet cream, softened, no margarine

1  pound  Cream Cheese
1/2  pound  Cheese, Soft Double Creme French Cheese (see notes)
1/3  cup  Sugar, granulated
1  tablespoon  Unbleached Flour
4  large  Eggs, separated
1/4  cup  Sour Cream
1/4  cup  Heavy Cream
1  teaspoon  Vanilla Extract
1  tablespoon  Confectioner's Sugar

1. Crust: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Working on a large flat surface, such as a pastry board, place the flour and the sugar in the center of the surface and mix together. Form a small depression or well in the center of the mound. Add the beaten egg yolk and the softened butter to the well, ten blend these with the dry mixture. Mix the ingredients thoroughly using your hands -- there's no substitute for warm hands. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 10 minutes. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. You should have a circle of about 11 inches in diameter. For best results, roll out your dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, then peel away the paper and cut the crust in a 9-inch circle. Place the circle inside a 9-inch springform pan. Prick the crust several times with a fork to keep the crust from puffing up during the baking. Place the springform pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light brown. Allow to cool. Using the leftover dough, line the sides of the springform pan.

2. Press the dough against the sides of the pan, smoothing it so as to have a continuous layer of crust all the way around the sides of the pan. Make sure that the side crust meets the bottom crust all the way around. Brush the reserved egg white onto the shell, covering the bottom and sides. This will seal the dough and keep it from becoming soggy. Set aside until ready to use.

3. Cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the double creme, then add the sugar and flour and beat until thoroughly blended. Stir in the egg yolks, sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy, then gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the cheese mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is firm. Cool to room temperature, then chill before serving.

Information about French cheese: From Double and triple creme cheeses, what Americans call cream cheese is a very distant relative to these rich, creamy, fresh cheeses from France. They vary in texture from thick, heavy sour or fresh cream, to semi-firm cream. All are delicate with a refreshing tang. Many varieties are blended with a mixture of herbs and garlic or spices, such as pepper. According to French law these cheeses are classified double creme when they contain a minimum of 60 per cent butter fat per gram, and triple creme when they contain a minimum of 75 per cent butter fat per gram. Among the double cremes available are: Boursin, Fromage de Monsieur Fromage, and Petit Suisse. From Double and Triple cremes: These cheeses have been heavily enriched with cream during their manufacturing process. The double cremes have a fat content of 60 per cent, and the triple cremes a 75 per cent fat content. This makes them all exceptionally rich, creamy and luscious. Some of them do not undergo a ripening process, so they can also be classed as unripened cheeses. Petit Suisse is a case in point. Although it is not ripened, its fat content can vary between 60 and 75 per cent. Other double and triple cremes are cured for about three weeks before marketing and develop a very thin, downy rind. These include Boursault, Brillat-Savarin and Excelsior. Others such as Blue Castello and Bavarian Blue have a blue veining. While double and triple cremes can vary in flavour and style, they have in common a degree of richness and creaminess not present in other cheeses.

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