What Are "French-Style" Cheesecakes?
French cheesecakes are dramatically different from their American equivalents. Or, at least this one (based on the recipes of the Alsatian region of France) is. There's an irony to the fact that it comes from this region, located on the border with Germany, which is famous for hearty, meat and potatoes-based Alsation food.
Yet the cheesecakes are much light and spongy, soft, and delicate, more like a souffle than the heavy and decadent cheesecakes of the United States.
This French-style cheesecake is refreshing, delicate, and elegant and, in this case, graced with a beautiful wisp of orange, seductively coiling itself around the tongue as one eats it, with the beautiful melding of the sweetness and the orange and a dusting of powdered sugar. It is a delight to eat as a pleasant dessert after a rich meal.
I modified this recipe from Rachel Khoo's My Little French Kitchen: Over 100 Recipes from the Mountains, Market Squares, and Shores of France.
- 3/4 cup flour
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 7 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup Grand Marnier
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
- 1 orange, juice and zest of
- Make the crust: Beat together the butter (which has been softened in a microwave), sugar, and salt, until creamed. Then add 1 egg yolk and then the flour. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then mold onto the greased bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F after pricking the bottom with a fork so that air bubbles don't form.
- Beat the remaining 2 egg yolks and then add in the orange juice, Grand Marnier, vanilla, and half of the confectioner's sugar, then beat until thick and creamy. Beat in the cornstarch and the milk, then the Greek Yogurt.
- Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl with a few tablespoons of confectioner's sugar. When foamy, add in the orange zest and the rest of the confectioner's sugar and whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then beat 1/3 of the egg whites into the heavier Greek yogurt mixture, and then fold the remaining amount in.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula. If you have a large roasting dish, place the springform pan inside with water surrounding the pan. Put this into the preheated 350 F oven, but then immediately turn down the temperature to 250 F. Cook for 1 hour. Once done, leave the cake in the oven for 1 additional hour. After that, extract the cake from the springform pan with a knife around the edges.