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Baking Chocolate Cheesecake

Asked by alegonz. Answered on 25th March 2014

Full question

Hello, Is it necessary to bake the Chocolate Cheesecake in the roasting pan with boiling water? Or can I bake it without the roasting pan and the boiling water?

Our answer

Nigella's Chocolate Cheesecake (from Feast and on the Nigella website) and many of her other cheesecakes are baked in a roasting pan which is half-filled with boiling water. This water bath is also known as a "bain-marie". The purpose of a bain-marie is to keep the ingredients being cooked at a low, consistent temperature and it is a very gentle form of cooking.

It is important to cook the cheesecakes in a bain-marie as it is the eggs in the cheesecake filling that will set the mixture. As the filling is in essence a type of egg custard, it requires very gentle cooking otherwise there is a risk that the eggs will over-cook. Whilst some recipes will not use a bain-marie for cheesecakes, you have to be very careful with the oven temperatures and cooking times and in our experience cheesecakes cooked in a bain-marie cook more evenly and have a much smoother texture. So we believe that using a bain-marie is worth the extra effort.

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