Chef Ren Behan’s mouthwatering cheesecake has the audience asking for more at SCRF 2024

A classic Polish cheesecake was dished out at the Special Recipes cookery
session at the 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

Sharjah, May 11, 2024

“Smacznego! In Polish language, it means eat well,” quipped British lawyer-turned-chef of Polish descent Ren Behan as she gave her audience a slice each of the yummy classic Polish cheesecake after she had demonstrated the preparation of the dessert during the Special Recipes session at the 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) taking place in Expo Centre Sharjah.

Chef Behan’s recipe was a treat for her audience at SCRF 2024 as she loaded it with some baking tips and tricks. After preheating the oven to 170 °C and lining a springform cake pan with a sheet of parchment paper and wrapping the outside of the pan with foil, she set about making the cake mix. For this, she beat 200 grams each of sugar and butter till creamy in a stand mixer, reminding the audience that all they need is “a bowl and whisk and energy” if they wished to beat by hand.

Next went in four eggs. The prime ingredients adding volume and substance to a cheesecake came next – 800 gm of cream cheese, 200 ml sour cream and 90 gm of corn or potato starch.

The mix is then poured into the pan, which is then immersed into a tin plate filled with water to function as a bain marie. An hour in the oven, and the cheesecake is ready – firm on the sides, jiggly in the centre and a light golden brown on top. But, according to Behan, the secret to a crack-free cheesecake is to let it cool in the oven for an hour, leaving the oven door open.

For the perfect cheesecake, leaving it in the refrigerator to cool overnight is a good idea, notes the chef. Sprinkling icing sugar on top and serving it with fruits like blueberries and strawberries will complete the culinary experience. Unlike the usual cheesecakes, there is no base of biscuits here although blueberries can be added to the mix before baking, concluded Behan.

The cookery sessions are a big draw at SCRF 2024, which is offering the region’s largest platform for cultural and artistic appreciation with theatrical performances, culinary demonstrations, workshops in STEM, social media, music, and several exciting competitions, activities, animation events.

SCRF 2024, which will come to a close on May 12, has the theme “Once Upon a Hero”. The action-packed festival for young readers, artists and creatives as well as their families showcases millions of books including latest releases in children’s and Young Adult (YA) literature from across the globe.



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