Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

French Cheesecake

Servings: 12-16
"This is my favorite dessert to make for Valentines Day, it's sweet and light and definitely romantic.

The smoothest, richest, creamiest melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake. Every bite is ecstasy. To paraphrase J.P. Morgan, if you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford to make it, and if you have to ask how many calories it has per slice, you can't afford to eat it. French double and triple-crèmes are available in cheese specialty shops and in some supermarkets in the specialty foods or cheese section".

Shortbread Crust (see recipe below)
1 pound (16 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 pound (8 oz.) soft French Cheese, (Fromage Blanc is a good choice; a soft French Double or Triple creme, these work the best)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. all-pupose flour
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. confectioners' sugar

For Shortbread Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, separated, and yolk slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, softened

This crust is very similar to the famous Scottish shortbread. The flavor of butter predominates and although margarine can be substituted, it is not recommended.

The crust can be either prebaked or just chilled. However, for any cake that is baked at a low oven temperature (or that has a particularly liquid filling), it is best to prebake. At temperatures below 350 degrees the crust won't cook thoroughly. Just prebake the bottom crust; don't attempt to prebake the sides because they don't really need the extra baking time and they will collapse anyway.

1. If you are prebaking the bottom crust, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Working on a large flat surface, such as a pastry board, place the flour and sugar in the center and mix together. Form a small depression or well in the center of the mound.

3. Add the beaten yolk and the softened butter to the well, then blend these with the dry mixture. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, using your hands.

4. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 10 minutes.

5. 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.

6. If you are prebaking the crust, then prick the crust several times with a fork to keep the crust from puffing up during baking. Place the springform pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light brown. Allow to cool.

7. Use the leftover dough to form the sides. Press the dough against the sides of the form, smoothing it so as to have a continuous side. Make sure also that the sides meet the bottom crust all the way around. Brush the reserved egg white onto the shell, covering both bottom and sides. This will seal the dough an keep it from becoming soggy.


One way to save time with this recipe is to skip the first chilling step and proceed right to filling the springform pan with the dough. Press the dough into the pan with your fingers; while the crust won't be as uniformly smooth, that is not particularly noticeable in the finished product.

Flavored Shortbread Crust:
For additional flavor, or if you decide to use margarine instead of butter, include the following for some added interest.

1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon rind

Liqueur-flavored Shortbread Crust:
A little bit of liqueur (1 teaspoon) added to the basic Shortbread Crust ingredients along with the egg yolk and the butter will give the cheesecake an extra lift.

For the Filling:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and double-crème, then add the sugar and flour and beat thoroughly.

3. Stir in the egg yolks, sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla.

4. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy, then gradually add the sugar and beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the cream cheese mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake for 45 minutes, or until center is firm. Cool to room temperature, then chill. Serve chilled, and if desired, top with strawberry or cherry sauce. Store any leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Makes 12-16 servings.

Submitted By: Lisa Carlson
Date: January 23, 2003