Monday, April 27, 2009
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I joined The Daring Bakers one year ago this month and the first challenge I did was Cheesecake Pops. What other way is there to celebrate my one-year DB Anniversary than with Cheesecake again? One can never have too much cheesecake. It's simply one of my favorite things to eat.
The challenge this month gave us a lot of freedom to be creative. The recipe was given, but we were allowed to use any toppings, flavorings, liqueurs, sauces, etc. that we preferred.
I'm not one to go crazy with unique flavors and I'm not one to accessorize my food with over the top creations. I couldn't decide if I wanted to make blueberry or chocolate cheesecake... so I decided to make both.
Instead of making two full size cheesecakes (not that they wouldn't have been eaten!), I decided to make Cheesecakelets. I halved the Daring Baker recipe for the plain blueberry cheesecake, so that I could adapt the remaining ingredients for the chocolate cheesecake. I modified a recipe that I received from a dear friend and adapted it a bit to bake along with the plain cheesecake recipe.
The Daring Baker cheesecake recipe was delicious. I almost skipped the lemon juice, since I really do not like citrus flavors, but I went ahead and added it and couldn't even taste it. My cheesecakelets did not crack, which is a bonus when baking cheesecake! My chocolate cheesecakelets did crack, which I'm assuming is user error, not the recipe. I modified the recipe I had-- one that I've made on several occasions and it's never cracked. But I baked it at a different temperature, for a different amount of time, in a different sized pan and in a water bath-- all things that I think contributed to the cracking. But a few cracks here and there never affect the taste!
What follows are the full recipes for the Daring Baker challenge, the blueberry topping and the chocolate cheesecake.
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted
2 tbsp 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. 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.
**Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and
water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4
minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat,
and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst.
Gretchen's Chocolate Cheesecake:
3 packages cream cheese
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa
2 tablespoons flour
Prepare crumb crust (recipe below). Heat oven to 450*. Beat cream cheese and sugar until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla - beat until blended. Beat in cocoa and flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beat until just blended. Pour into crust.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 250, continue baking for 40 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool completely before removing from pan. Loosen cake with knife before removing side. Drizzle with chocolate. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours. Store covered in refrigerator.
Combine 1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs (put one of the little packages into a ziploc bag, and roll with a rolling pin until all crumbled) with 1/4 cup melted butter. Press into bottom of 9 inch springform pan.
Place 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons shortening into small microwaveable bowl. Microwave 30 seconds. If necessary, microwave an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted. Pour into baggie, and snip the tip of the baggie off with scissors and squeeze drizzle back and forth over top of cake.