DB#30 or Cheesy (cake) time!
I love cheese. Any cheese, all types of cheese, anytime! Cooked, simple, baked, in savoury or sweet recipes. I LOVE cheese.
What are my feelings about cheesecake? It's gooooood! Knowing that April's challenge would make the Daring Bakers to get into cheese land left me with a smile on my face when I first read the recipe Jenny had chosen. Thanks Jenny, it was a wonderful one!
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake
Café au lait cheesecake with caramel sauce
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 120 grams butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks of cream cheese, (710 grams total) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 250 ml heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional (I used whisky)
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. take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of creaml. 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.
Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce.
Ina Garten's Caramel sauce here.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla.
Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.
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 thoughts on the challenge:
- The recipe worked fine for me. I've used half recipe (2 small eggs) to bake 6 individual ramekins - it took about 25 minutes.
- Café au lait cheesecake with caramel sauce was a perfect match of flavours. I've added half a tablespoon of whisky which gave it a Bailey's Liquor taste that worked really nice with the remaining ingredients!
- Half recipe is enough for the sauce if not using full cheesecake recipe.
- I'll definitely be making the cheesecake again perhaps in a chocolate or fruity version.
Check all the amazing variations fellow Daring Bakers came up with here!