Monday, April 27, 2009
Daring Bakers Challenge: Cheesecake
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Oh boy, I liked this challenge. This is such a creamy, tasty cheesecake, and not too difficult to make. I also liked the fact that Jenny wanted everyone to be creative and add their own spin on this cheesecake to make it their own. I made mine a Strawberries and Cream cheesecake: oven roasted strawberries swirled into the cheesecake batter with thin layer of plain vanilla cheesecake on top. I made it for Easter Sunday and it was a hit with my family. I can't wait to experiment more with this great recipe!
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake: (Instructions for making it strawberries and cream at bottom of page)
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice, and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 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. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away. I couldn't find a foil pan so I used a springform pan, but I placed the pan of water on the rack underneath it and it seemed to work beautifully--no cracking or anything.
Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake:
1 pound strawberries, hulled
3 T. light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place strawberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with corn syrup, and toss gently to coat. Bake until syrup thickens and strawberries turn deep red and shrink slightly, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer strawberries and syrup to a medium bowl, and mash with potato masher. Let cool completely.
Prepare cheesecake batter and crust as described in Abbey's cheesecake recipe above. Transfer most of cheesecake batter to bowl with strawberries leaving about 1 1/2 cups in original bowl. In bowl with strawberries stir batter and strawberries to combine. Pour strawberry-cream cheese mixture into pan on top of crust; smooth with an offset spatula. Carefully spoon dollops of plain cream cheese mixture on top, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake according to Abbey's directions.