I go through phases once in a while. When I try a food that I really like and think that I could replicate it at home, I would do tonnes of research on the internet (I can't imagine how that would be possible 20 years ago, thanks Dr Google) and try out different recipes and variations until my mission was complete. To think of those times I had to eat char kuay teow 3 weekends in a row, the different versions of Korean fried chicken I had to go through, and all those swiss rolls and chiffon cakes (the good, the bad and the downright ugly) - I don't know why I do it, but perhaps it's determination, or maybe I just don't know when to stop. This time, I went through a cheesecake phase. Ever since I tried the New York cheesecake from Lorraine's Patisserie, I totally fell in love with its light, fluffy and cloud-like texture. Never mind that the cake was so delicate that it kept falling apart when I tried to slice it. It was like eating cheese-clouds and gingery spiced biscuit crust - simply heavenly!
I found this recipe for mascarpone cheesecake by Giada that had an almond crust. For recipe-testing purposes, I skipped the crust and made the cheese filling only, just to see how the texture turned out. So, the mascarpone makes it more Italian than New York style, though Giada claims that mascarpone makes the lightest cheesecake. It turned out pretty light and creamy (though it tends to be a bit firm when it's straight out from the fridge). The kids loved it especially with the nutella sauce. The original recipe includes the crust, which I've omitted below. A crustless cheesecake is equally delicious and much simpler too!
Mascarpone Cheesecake (Crustless)
Adapted from Foodnetwork
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup Nutella
1/4 cup milk or whipping cream
Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by greasing and lining the base with baking paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with 3 layers of aluminium foil, making sure there are not holes/tears in the foil. Preheat oven to 180C.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Pour the cheese mixture into the springform pan. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
For the topping: Combine the nutella and milk / cream in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave until warm, stirring every 20 seconds to blend, about 1 minute.
Cut the cake into wedges. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the wedges and serve.