I’ve been wanting to make a rasmalai cheesecake for a while now, I’ve made quite a few rasmalai desserts and I loved them all. So I thought a rasmalai cheesecake would be fun too.
I kept putting it off though, I didn’t know if it was necessary.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, I loved this cheesecake so much I wish I made it earlier. The texture, the flavour and the smell of it was all soooo good.
What is rasmalai?
If you’ve never had or heard of rasmalai, let me give a quick explanation.
Rasmalai is a dessert that is popular in South Asia. It is essentially made up of disks of chenna. This is a type of cheese that is similar to cottage cheese.
This chenna is soaked in a sugar syrup and then it is added to a sweet thickened milk that is usually flavoured with cardamom and saffron. This thickened milk is called rabri.
The rasmalai is then garnished with nuts. Most of the time this is either pistachios or almonds.
You end up with a dessert THAT IS SO GOOD. The chenna tastes soft and spongy, kind of like cake, and the milk is sweet and cold. It’s one of my favourite South Asian desserts.
What makes this a rasmalai cheesecake?
Usually when I make these fusion desserts, my goal is to take the flavours from the South Asian dessert and add it into the dessert that I am making.
So for this cheesecake, the main flavours I added to it were cardamom, saffron and I also added chopped pistachios.
BUT then I decided to add actual rasmalai into the cheesecake too, for extra flavour and texture.
So I got some store bought rasmalai and added the sweet milk from it into my cheesecake batter. And I also chopped up some of the chenna and folded this into the batter.
Now you have a cheesecake that is very rasmalai-ee.
Ingredients for the cheesecake
There is 2 parts to this, the biscuit base and the cheesecake.
For the biscuit base, all you need is crushed digestive biscuits, some melted butter and chopped pistachios.
Any biscuit works, but I like to use digestives.
For the cheesecake batter, here are the ingredients you are going to need:
- The milk from your rasmalai
- Saffron – your rasmalai milk might have already been flavoured with saffron, I like to add extra though. But you can skip this if you wanted too.
- Cream cheese – make sure to use full fat cream cheese.
- Granulated sugar
- Corn flour – also known as corn starch.
- Vanilla extract
- Cardamom powder – for flavour.
- White chocolate – this is not going to make the cheesecake taste white chocolate flavoured, it just helps with the texture of the cheesecake. So make sure to add this.
Baking cheesecake in a water bath
We’re going to bake this cheesecake in a water bath.
For this all you want to do is get a large roasting/baking tray that has high sides.
Add your unbaked cheesecake into this tin, then fill the large tray with boiling water, just until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the tin with the cheesecake in it.
Now just carefully place this into your oven.
The reason why we do this is because cheesecake does not like drastic changes in temperature.
If you add your cheesecake straight into the oven, it will get too hot, which will effect the texture of it, and also it is much more likely to crack.
So essentially, the water bath regulates the temperature; it stops it from getting too hot, which gives you a smooth creamy cheesecake.
Spring form vs regular cake tin
Most cheesecake recipes will tell you to make cheesecakes in a springform or loose bottom cake tin.
These kind of tins are very helpful because it makes it easier to get the cheesecake out of the tin, after it has been baked and chilled.
My only issue with using a springform/loose bottom tin is that you have to wrap the outside of it in tinfoil a few times. This is because we are baking the cheesecake in a water bath, and we don’t want any water to get inside of the tin.
This might be a personal problem, but no matter how many times I wrap my springform tin, WATER STILL GETS INTO THE CHEESECAKE. Again, I think I am the problem, because most people do use springform tins and they have no issue with them. But they do not work for me.
So instead I use a regular cake tin. This way I don’t need to wrap the tin and I don’t need to worry about water getting into the cheesecake.
But with that being said, it is a little harder to get the cheesecake out of this kind of tin.
To get it out, I flip the tin over onto some baking paper, heat the sides and bottom of the tin with a blowtorch (or you can dip it into hot water instead). then aggressively shake the tin until the cheesecake comes out.
This does work, but it is a little difficult.
SO ALL I’M TRYING TO SAY IS, it is totally up to you what kind of tin to use. I’ve gave you the good and bad of both tins, so you can decide which one you would prefer.
Leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour
Ok so I baked this cheesecake for around 50-55 minutes. This timing might vary depending on your oven, but you will know it is done when the edges of the cheesecake look set but the centre is still slightly jiggly.
At this point, turn your oven off, open the door slightly, then leave the cheesecake in there for 1 hour.
Remember when I said cheesecakes don’t like drastic changes in temperature, this is still very true when taking it out of the oven.
So it’s better to let it cool down slowly in the oven, this will prevent cracks and help keep that smooth creamy texture.
Then after, let it cool to room temperature, then leave it in your fridge to set overnight.
Decorating the cheesecake
Once the cheesecake has set overnight, take it out of the tin and now you can decorate it.
You don’t have to decorate it to be honest, I just did it for fun, it doesn’t add much to the taste.
But all I did was whip up some whipped cream, I piped swirls on top of the cheesecake using this, then added some chopped pistachios and pieces of the rasmalai.
If you are decorating it, decorate it however you want!
Here are some other rasmalai inspired desserts you might like:
2 x 500g boxes of rasmalai
- For he biscuit base:
300g biscuits (any work I used digestives)
120g unsalted butter, melted
50g pistachios, finely chopped
- For the cheesecake:
300ml of the milk from your rasmalai
A few strands of saffron
800g full fat cream cheese
150g granulated sugar
60g corn flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cardamom powder
160g white chocolate, melted
Some whipped cream to decorate (optional)
Some extra chopped pistachios to decorate (also optional)
- Pre-heat your oven to 170c/325f. Also grease and line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch cake tin.
- Making the biscuit base:
- Start by crushing your biscuits. You can either do this in a food processor, or add them into a food bag and hit with a rolling pin.
- Mix these crushed biscuits with the melted butter and chopped pistachios.
- Add this into your prepared cake tin, press it down until you get a flat even layer, then leave this aside.
- Making the cheesecake batter:
- In a pot, add the rasmalai milk. Crush your saffron with your hands, then add this to the pot too.
- Place this onto medium heat and let this come to a simmer (in my video I let it come to a boil, don't do this, you don't need it to be that hot).
- Leave this aside to cool down a bit.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, corn flour, vanilla extract and cardamom powder. Mix these together until smooth.
- Add half of the milk into this, whisk this in, then whisk in the remaining milk. Then add the melted white chocolate and mix this in too.
- At this point, cut up a few pieces of the rasmalai and fold this into the batter. You can add as much as you want here, but remember to save some to decorate.
- Add this into your cake tin and spread it out.
- Baking the cheesecake:
- We are going to bake this cheesecake in a water bath, so add it into a large baking/roasting tray that has high sides. Pour some boiling water into this tray until it reaches about halfway up the tin with the cheesecake in it.
- Carefully place this into your oven and bake at 170c/325f, for around 50-55 minutes. It is done when the sides look set but the centre is still slightly jiggly.
- Once it has baked, turn your oven off and open the door slightly. Leave the cheesecake in there for 1 hour.
- After an hour, take the cheesecake out of the oven. Let this cool down completely, then place it into your fridge. Leave it in there to set overnight.
- The next day:
- The next day you can take it out of the tin and decorate.
- I just piped some whipped cream on top, sprinkled some chopped pistachios over this, then added pieces of rasmalai.
- Now it is done, cut into it and enjoy!