Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake.

Crap. I can never remember to get this thing up. I think the problem is that I'm not really graded like at school or something. I could always get stuff in on time at school. But on this thing? Psht. I'm bad.

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

So. This month was cheesecake. I like cheesecake. But when I found out, I had just made cheesecake two weeks before. Sigh. Oh, well. I looked at the recipe and.. it didn't intrigue me all
that much. My normal recipe has more cream cheese -and- less sugar than that recipe. And I like it just fine. This recipe also called for a water bath. Sigh.

I did it anyway. I kept the sugar at the recipe's amount. I just made different additions like cocoa powder for some. More vanilla. Coffee. I even made a caramel one. Oh. I did cheesecake cupcakes. Because I wanted a variety of flavours.

How did they taste?

Well. The coffee, the caramel, and the German Chocolate, I made by caramelising the sugar in the recipe, then adding the cream. As is always the case, my sugar clumped up as soon as I added the cream. And no matter how long I sat there trying to melt it back into the cream, there
was still a big chunk that just wouldn't mix. So I gave up. And threw that chunk out. I continued on with what I had, though.

The chocolate and vanilla I just made basic. Cocoa powder and some chocolate for the chocolate. A lot of vanilla for the vanilla.

I had the Coffee, the Ca
ramel, the German Chocolate, and the Vanilla. The first three had the lower amount of sugar because of that chunk that wouldn't melt. I could handle the sweetness of those. The vanilla? Way too sweet for me. Oh. And the caramel didn't taste very caramel-y. Just vanilla-y.

As for the "creaminess." My normal cheesecakes don't use a water bath. This one did. Water baths are supposed to make a cheesecake creamier. Were these creamier? Yes. However. They also had a lot more cream. And I don't know about you... but I would think putting cream in something would make something creamy. I actually didn't like the creaminess. The feeling it gave my tongue was like.. drinking cream. Or eating cold fat. You get that greasy feeling in your mouth that doesn't go away.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

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 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

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, lemon juice, and alcohol 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.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

1 comment:

The Irreverent Cook said...

LOL, yes, adding cream will make something creamy, but the water bathe is not for that... It's both to keep the cake moist and to minimize the chances of it cracking. I'm sorry you didn't like the recipe, but I thought the flavors sounded nice, and the photos are really cute! Like cheesecake polka dots =P