Friday, February 13, 2009

Time for some Cheesecake

Well, I sort of mentioned it in my last blog, and as I eat the very last piece of the (hopefully) last cheesecake that I will make until next December (unless someone wants to buy one), I thought I would tell you how to make one.  The recipe that I use is pretty basic, but it is so so good.  I don't top mine because there is no use messing with it.  The only thing that I will put on top of it is something like a strawberry puree, or caramel.  But no pie filling or turtle topping.  Though don't get me wrong, I LOVE turtle cheesecake.

The recipe is as follows:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup +3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
2.5 pounds cream cheese.  (that is five packages that you would get in the store)
3 Tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 cup Sour Cream

Now I always use a 9 inch spring form pan, because that is what I have.  There are other methods that some people use but I will tell you about mine.

First, soften your cream cheese.  SERIOUSLY MAKE SURE IT IS COMPLETELY SOFT!!!!!!  This is best done on your kitchen counter.  I don't recommend the microwave, because it tends to cook it.

Second, take your pan and spray it with non-stick spray.  In a separate bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar, and mix well.  Press the crust into the pan.  (As a note, I like to double my crust for a thicker crust).   Bake the crust in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes, just until starting to brown.

While your crust is baking, start mixing all of the other ingredients.  Best done with a stand mixer, mix your cream cheese with the sugar and flour.  Next crack three eggs and put them in a bowl with the vanilla.  Add your eggs, one at a time, to your cream cheese while mixing.  Finally add your sour cream.  If you don't believe me about the sour cream, I need you to just trust me on this one.  I have a friend that thinks he hates sour cream and hates anything that has it in it.  However he loves the cheesecake and usually buys 2 or 3 from me each Christmas.

At this point if you are seeing little balls of cream cheese in your mixture it is because it was not quite softened enough.  It will not ruin the taste, but i think it may affect the way that it sets up.  I only had one cheesecake crack on me this year, and it was when I did not soften the cream cheese enough.  If I am wrong about why the little clumps of cheesecake are still there, I am sorry, and if you know the other reason that it would leave these clumps, I would like to know.  But that is my best guess.  

Anyways, once you have it all mixed, pour it into your pan with the crust.  Did, I mention that you will want something like a 3-4 inch tall pan.  This is a thick cheesecake.  

Now for the moment of truth.  Cheesecakes crack.  It seems like you can do everything right and they still crack.  Some people think they are supposed to crack, but they are not.  I make it my goal to not have any cracks in a season.  After nearly 10 cheesecakes in December and January, I only cracked one.  So here is how I keep them from cracking, as best I can.  

Fill a pan with hot water and place it in the bottom of your oven.  Since you are using a spring form pan, you cannot put the cake in the water but you can put it above, and there will still be plenty of moisture in the oven to help with the cake.

Bake the cake in a 300 degree oven for about an hour, or until the middle has set up.  The edges are usually slightly brown, I haven't figured out how to stop that.  Once the middle is set up, (and don't shake the cake too much) open the door for about a minute, to let out some heat.  Also turn your oven off.  Then shut the door again and allow the cake to cool very slowly for another hour or more.  You have to cool them very slowly.  Once they are cool enough to take out without oven mits, take it out and set it on the counter.  Let it cool some more, and then stick it in the fridge.  The counter part may be a little much, but I hate the cracks. 

Let it chill in the fridge and then cut it and eat it.  You will love it.  

If you don't want to make one, let me know, I can make one for you.  Only 15 bucks.  You will thank me for it, but it will be a great reward to make it yourself.

1 comment:

dfd said...

Hey Derek,
Looks like a simple recipe lots of us can try. I found a gourmet recipe on http://www.cheesecake-recipes.org/. It was a savory avocado one that was delicious if you want to try it.