April 27, 2009

Basic Cheesecake

Daring Bakers' April Challenge - Cheesecake


The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I love cheesecake! It is one of my favorite desserts. I have waxed on about cheesecake in a previous post and my Aunt Julie but it is her cheesecake recipe that reminds me of this one. Aunt Julie (really my great aunt) was born in the U.S. but her parents were immigrants from Italy. She married my Slovakian grandmother's brother and she brought her cheesecake recipe into the family. It was a real treat to have Aunt Julie's cheesecake. Her recipe called for 1 pound of cream cheese and 1 pound of ricotta cheese, 5 eggs, 1/4 pound of butter and 1 pint of sour cream - talk about a cheesecake with some heft! Certainly the recipe came about before we knew the dangers of cholesterol! The trick was to bake it for the appointed time and don't open the oven door until morning!!! Of course, it was topped with canned cherry pie filling!

This cheesecake came together in a snap. Thank you Jenny for a lovely challenge. I used David Lebovitz's Speculoos recipe for the crust.  This cake was super creamy! I recommend this recipe.
I topped mine with a chocolate ganache.

Speculoos Crust

2 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1 large egg yolk
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Beat together butter and brown sugar until to smooth. Stir in the molasses and egg yolk.
In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and add to butter mixture until smooth. Pat batter onto parchment or silpat into 5 inch rounds. Bake for 18 minutes. Process in the food processor with 1 stick of butter and 2 Tbs of sugar. Pat firmly into springform pan.

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
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). 
Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

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. Double wrap springform pan with foil to make waterproof.
Set crust aside.

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, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

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.

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.

out of the oven



sunset across gram's fallow vegetable patch


Dharm said...

Hi Wendy! I've said this before and i'll say it again. I HATE The time difference. I kept coming over to find your cheesecake and it wasnt there. Am glad that at least one pic is there now... will come back again! Glad your cheesecake turned out well - it was such a lovely dessert to make and eat!!

bonnie said...

now that looks awesome. sounds delicious with the lemon curd and choclate.

Angie said...

That cheesecake looks amazing.

Jenny said...

Yum, lemon and chocolate. It looks so creamy!

Jenny of JennyBakes

charmed download said...

The cake is really amazing and thanks a lot for those amazing recipes.

s said...

wow..that looks splendid!