Monday, 27 April 2009

Daring Bakers Cheesecake

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

Thank you to Jenny for this month's challenge. I have never made a baked cheesecake before and I was delighted to have the opportunity to try. It was gorgeous. Very simple to make. The only problem was the amount of mixture for the size of the pan. I would certainly reduce it next time and a next time there will be. This was delicious. I added rose water to the mix and drizzled with rose syrup. A few pomegranate seeds for colour. It was heaven on a plate. I can't urge you enough to try it. It's a bit like making baked egg custard, done in a ban marie in the oven. The variations in flavour are endless. All you need is this one basic 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!

Some variations from the recipe creator:

** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)

** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - 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 cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).

** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.

** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.

** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):

**Key lime - add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.

**Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a pretty cheesecake! A great choice of flavors!



Mary said...

I love cheesecakes of all sorts , this looks so delicious...cheers!

Elissa said...

I remember seeing this on the DB forum and just staring for a moment. What a beautiful color, it's stunning.

LegalAlien said...

Very nice, I love the syrup!

giz said...

what a great idea with the topping. It really changes a cheesecake with every topping one uses.

Memoria said...

WOW! Your cheesecake is beautiful!!

Katie said...

Sounds amazing. Rosewater and pomegranate - yum!

Dharm said...

love the choice of flavours!!

George said...

Gorgeous Brenda, great job! Love the floral take too, I knew that rose water would come in handy at some point lol.

YummyMummy said...

This looks gorgeous! I love the idea of using rosewater. Thanks to your daring bakers posts I have now signed up too, to give myself a bit of a challenge. Thanks!

Michelle N said...

Your cheesecake looks great!! I have never tried pomegranate, I really need to! Love the color!

Gloria said...

Brenda is one of the most beauty cheescake I had seen!! Look wonderful and lovely!!! good job!! xxGloria

Maccama said...

This cheesecake was truly delicious, we had the privilege of being 'tasters' when we visited Brenda. Best cheesecake I have ever tasted! lol Sue

Kristine said...

Love the idea of rosewater. Looks like heaven on a plate, too. I wished I'd thought of that! I made rosewater ice cream to go with the flourless choc. cake challenge. Thank goodness as that was the only part I liked. Kristine

Jacque said...

Oooh, so pretty! I liked the pink sauce and pom on top... such a great way to liven up the presentation.

Lauren said...

Mmm, your cheesecake looks amazing!! I love the flavours you used =D.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Beautiful...I am a fan of cheesecake from way back. I like the look of those pomegranate seeds on top and rosewater in the mix sounds rather heavenly.

And I have my eye on that Jessie Tweddle tea loaf... ;) there may be a new member to the club sooner or later!

Rhyleysgranny said...

Rosa - Thank you It was a good challege

Mary - Thank you

Elissa - Bless you I think you have the wrong person as I didn't post it on DB but thank you anyway

LegalAlien - Thank you and nice to see you here

giz - You are right the toppings all over have been lovely and interesting to see what others did with this cake.

Memoria - Nice to see you here and thank you

Katie - The rose was nice, something I haven't tried before

Dharm- Thank you

George - You are so right. I am getting brave in my old age ;)

Yummy - Thank you and I am glad you are giving DB a go. It pushes youa little and is good fun

Michelle - Nice to see you here. I love pomegranate. Handy little seeds

Gloria - Thank you x

Maccama - Aha you left a comment. Glad you like it even with all your travel probs xxx

Kristine - Nice to see you here and thank you. You are so right about the cake LOL

Jaque - Thank you. Good of you to drop in

Lauren - Thank you and nice to see you here.

Rhyleysgranny said...

Laura - Thank you about the cheese cake. It's a keeper of a recipe.. Jessie's cake has earned quite a reputation lol

Bridgett said...

I love the pomegranate "jewels" on top. You just can't go wrong with a great cheesecake recipe.

Big Boys Oven said...

just one look, I already in love with that slice of cheesecake, shall I name it pinkish! the colour is so overwhelming, just awesome.

Jenny said...

I'm so glad you liked the recipe! I can just picture the rose and pomegranate combo now, what a beautiful contrast to the creamy cheesecake.

Jenny of JennyBakes

Rhyleysgranny said...

Bridgett - Thank you :) It is a very good recipe

Big Boys Oven - Nice of you to drop in and leave a comment. Thank you

Jenny - How nice of you to take the time to reply to my comment Bless you, you had hundreds. It is a lovely recipe. Job well done :)

Ruth E said...

Great work on this month's challenge! Love the rose water and pomegranate.

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

I love your cheesecake.It looks yummy.from morgan.princesska's wee girl.