When asked to imagine a cheesecake, almost everyone thinks of the famous New York incarnation. Well, Alsace is the home of the French cheesecake, and it is by no sheer coincidence that it also happens to produce the most unctuous and creamy fromage blanc in France. Contrary to the popular belief that French food is very rich, Alsatian cheesecake is remarkably light and airy, getting its lift from a billowy meringue base.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
- Cooking Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
- ½ recipe Sweet Pastry Dough
- 2 egg yolks, plus 7 egg whites
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
- ⅓ cup (40 g) cornstarch
- 6 tbsp (50 g) powdered milk
- 1¼ cups (300 g) fromage blanc, Greek yogurt, or quark
- Grease the springform pan and line it with parchment. Wrap a double layer of foil around the outside.
- Using your hands, squash the pastry dough into a ball. Transfer it to the prepared cake pan and use the palm of your hand and a spatula to carefully flatten it out to evenly cover the base of the pan. Prick the pastry base with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, until golden, then remove from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon zest, vanilla, and half of the confectioners’ sugar until thick and creamy. Beat in the cornstarch and powdered milk, followed by the fromage blanc.
- In a separate glass or metal bowl, begin to whisk the egg whites with 2 to 3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar. When the whites are foamy, add the lemon juice and the rest of the confectioners’ sugar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Beat one-third of the egg whites into the fromage blanc mixture until smooth. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Place the cake pan in a large, deep roasting pan and fill the cake pan with the egg white mixture. Smooth with a spatula. Pour water into the roasting pan to a depth of about ¾ inch. Carefully place in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 250°F. Bake for 1 hour, turn off the heat, and leave in the oven for another hour with the door open. Run a sharp knife around the inside edges of the cake pan before unmolding the cheesecake. Slice and serve.