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Cheese for Cheesecakes

Asked by pankhuri. Answered on 16th May 2012

Full question

Is there any other cheese which can be used in cheesecake other than cream cheese? Unfortunaltely cream cheese is not available where I live. Thank you!

Our answer

Cream cheese is a soft cheese with a fat content of around 33%. It is particularly popular for cheescakes as it gives a smooth texture and although it may be seen as a "sweet" cheese it has a very slightly acidic tang which helps to stop cheesecakes from tasting too cloying. Probably the closest substitute is mascarpone though this has a fat content of 40% and doesn't have the same acidic tang as cream cheese, so will give a very rich cheesecake.

Otherwise a curd cheese would be a possible alternative. The type of curd cheese needed for a cheesecake is the firm type, such as quark, farmer cheese or paneer, and not the type with small curds, such as cottage cheese. However these cheeses have a much lower fat content, typically 20% or below, so they may not give the best flavour or texture if used as a straight substitute for cream cheese. Instead we would suggest making a cheesecake from a recipe specifically uses curd cheese. Nigella's Old Fashioned Cheesecake from Kitchen (p173) would be a good one to try.

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