I am a wife, a mom of three, and the kitchen is my favorite place in the house. I read cookbooks in my spare time and enjoy getting kitchen appliances for presents :) I love preparing delicious and healthy food for my family and here are a some of what graces our table each week.

Email Me for any of the recipes :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge - April 2009 - Cheesecake!!

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

Here is the actual recipe - I will make my notes on the side...

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
crust:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted (Smart Balance Light)
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar (pretty sure I put 3 tbsp in - ooops)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream (fat free half and half)
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 (didn't use)

DIRECTIONS:
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!

My creation:
As I have mentioned in other posts, Danny's favorite pie in Montreal was the Strawberry Peach Crumble at Rockaberry's. Since cheesecake is another favorite of his, I decided to merge the two and make a Strawberry Peach swirl cheesecake with a crumble topping. The above recipe was just as simple as could be. I do wish that a pan size or more cooking times would have been given because cheesecakes are so tempermental. Mine was in an 8 inch spring form and I had it in for an entire hour and then a cooling hour. The middle was still a little jiggly this morning, but the outside was perfect. I am going to use a large pan next time so I dont have to leave it in any longer, nothing worse than a dry cheesecake. The sauce was perfect, not too peachy, but not too strawberry-y either and with some extra sauce on the side...yum.

Strawberry Peach Sauce: adapted from a recipe I cut out for strawberry swirl cheesecake
10 oz. strawberries, cut in half
3 heaping teaspoons peach preserves
1/2 lemon, juiced
Put everything in pot and use a stick blender to puree as much as you want, bring to a boil
Mix in 2 tsp flour/cornstarch and 2 tbsp water and simmer until thick. Cool until needed.

For the crumble, it was a very simple flour, sugar, butter mix and I added a little cinnamon for good measure.

Here's what it looked like:
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Cheese cake ingredients, couldn't be simpler:



The start of some yummy sauce...



Strawberry Peach sauce



Graham Cracker Crust


The cheesecake :)



Into the oven...


Out of the oven...



Chilled overnight...


Breakfast ;)