Monday, April 27, 2009

The Daring Bakers Conquer Cheesecake!

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

Before this month's Daring Bakers Challenge, I had only made cheesecake a few times. There's something about cheesecake that makes you think it's complicated. However, it really isn't hard at all. The trick comes in getting the cheesecake to be the perfect consistently, while keeping it from cracking. If it's over-cooked, it's sure to careful!

This recipe truly is delicious! It is smooth, creamy, and simply scrumptious! You can get as creative as you want with it. I topped my cheesecake with a simple blueberry pie filling, and freshly sliced lemon was the perfect finishing touch. I loved the color contrast of the blue and yellow on the top of the cake.

If you're a cheesecake fan, you've got to try this recipe!***
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!


Elissa said...

I saw this on the DB forum in the beginning of the month and fell in love! Your photograph is beautiful and the cheesecake looks great.

Anonymous said...

AHHH! That looks COMPLETELY fantastic!!

Memória said...

WOW!! Your cheesecake is beautiful! I wasn't too crazy about the cheesecake, but it was quick and easy to make. Great job!

Barbara Bakes said...

I love your pictures with the sauce dripping down the side - looks so yummy!

Lisa said...

Beautiful cheesecake, Celeste, but everything you turn out is amazing! Great job!

What's Cookin Chicago said...

This looks amazing (as usual) and a wonderful looking recipe!

Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar said...

Great-looking cheesecake, Celeste! Love your flavour combination :)

Olga said...

YOu did such a great job with this challenge!

vibi said...

Great take on the classic! Nicely done... pictures, flavour choices and all! Bravo!

Namratha said...

Looks scrumptiously good! :)

Jude said...

Wish I had a slice or two of your cheesecake. That closeup of the blueberries dripping down the sides is torture.

Christina said...

Awesome job Celeste! I love the blueberries and lemon combination!

Junie Moon said...

Your cheesecake looks so yummy. I love the addition of the berries and lemon slices.

Delectable Dining said...

Looks wonderful! Your pictures have me practically drooling!

Christina said...

Your cheesecake looks wonderful! Your photos are beautiful too!

Chantal said...

Oh your photos are sublime!

Lauren said...

Mmm, your cheesecake looks amazing!! I love your pictures =D.

ice tea: sugar high said...

Loving the look on that sauce on the cheesecake. Mouth watering!!

rosasdolcevita said...

This looks wonderful!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

I love your cheesecake! My husband would have much preferred I went with this version!

Unknown said...

This looks so delicious! Thanks for being a part of this challenge.

Jenny of JennyBakes

Jones said...

wow, I was just looking for a great cheesecake recipe, this one sounds like a sure winner!!