Happy Independence Day everyone. India is celebrating its 64th independence day today on 15th Aug 2010. I am proud to be born Indian and to be brought up in this beautiful democratic country. Today Mr. Prime Minister hoists the National Flag at the Red Fort in New Delhi (Capital of India).
People celebrate by flying colorful kites, eat sweets with their family and friends. Amongst all the celebration, we cannot forget to salute the millions of brave soldiers, people, leaders who gave up their lives while fighting for India's Independence so that we all can breathe in a free country today. Jai Hind! (Hail India)
I too decided to do something special this Independence Day and what's better than making something sweet and in colors that represents the National Flag of India. The Orange (Saffron) stands for courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation; the white, for purity and peace; the green for faith and fertility.
You can go to Wikipedia and read more about India and its history, The National flag and Independence.
Coming to today recipe- Tri-Color & Tri-flavor Cheesecake. This cheesecake not only has 3 colors but 3 different flavors too. The bottom green one is banana flavor, center is vanilla lemon and top most is orange.
I anyways love cheesecake and what's better than having three flavors in one? Trust me, this triple flavored baked cheesecake is heavenly! Sending this right to Champa's ongoing Bake Off Event.
Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)
12 graham crackers ( crush them to crumbs in a mixer)
1/4th tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
3 (8 oz) packs of cream cheese ( At room temperature. I left mine out on the kitchen counter for 3 hrs)
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp banana essence
1 mashed banana (use over-ripe banana)
1/2 tsp orange essence
1 tsp orange zest or peel (I grounded the peel)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Food colors of your choice ( I preferred to use the colors representing Indian flag)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10 inch spring-form pan or a 1-use aluminum foil pan. I used the aluminum foil pan as its easier to slide the prepared cake out of it by cutting the pan edges.
2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Press onto bottom of pan using back side of a measuring cup or flat spatula.
3. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 15 minutes and then let it cool on the counter top.
4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth using the paddle attachment on a low speed. ( use can also use hand blender at the lowest speed)
5. Blend in sour cream, sweetend condensed milk and mix until incorporated. Add lemon zest and blend it in.
5. Add the corn starch at this point and let it blend well at the low speed or you can mix by hand using spatula. Do not overmix. ( Don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl in between)
6. Then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Stir after adding each egg and then add the other.
7. Now divide the batter in three equal portions.
8. For the bottom portion, take one part of the batter,add mashed banana to it and mix just until incorporated. Add the banana essence and the food color (i used green) and mix well. Pour the batter on the prepared crust.
9. Now take the second part, add vanilla essence to it and mix well. Pour on the top of the banana layer covering it completely.
10. Take the third and last portion of the batter now. Add the orange zest and essence to it and mix. Stir in the orange color and pour this batter carefully on top covering it end to end.
11.Put the baking pan into the center rack of the oven. Right below that rack put another pan (of larger size) filled halfway with hot water. This creates moisture in the oven for even baking of the cheesecake and prevents cracking.
12.Bake the cheesecake for 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for 2 hours. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top.
Look how smooth and clean the top is
13.After couple of hours, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then resist your temptation and put in the fridge to chill for 5-6 hours at the minimum. Overnight is best. ( If you can resist that long, we couldn't :D )
14. Serve at room temperature.