Cheesecake!!! (Daring Bakers Challenge April 09)

cheesecakelets-1

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

I made cheesecakelets for April’s DB challenge. For the crust, I substituted the graham crackers for porridge oats and the sugar for honey. I completely omitted the sugar in the cheesecake batter and used the natural sweetness found in my chosen ingredients. I wanted to contrast sweet with salty and made the following combinations:

figolive-cheesecake

Fig & Black Olive

sesame-cheesecake

Black Sesame paste & Salted Plum

peasalmon-cheesecake

Garden Pea & Smoked Salmon

violet-cheesecake

Crystallized Violet

Unlike my previous cheesecake attempts which turned out dry, these came out really light, creamy & wobbly, absolutely delicious! The fig & black olive cheesecake gained the most votes from my tasters and the black sesame paste one came in at a close second. I wasn’t too convinced by the Pea flavor; it came out tasting rather bland and could have done with a squeeze of lemon juice and lots of black pepper.

chocolate-tofu-cheesecake

I also made a more conventional chili chocolate tofu cheesecake using the water bath method which worked wonderfully.

Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake

Crust
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cheesecake
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

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!

Teaf factory notes: I made a third of the recipe which yieled 4 ramekin sized cheesecakes. I baked mine for 20-25 mins.

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7 responses to “Cheesecake!!! (Daring Bakers Challenge April 09)

  1. Fig and black olive, black sesame paste and salted plum, garden pea and smoked salmon, crystallized violet and finally chilli chocolate tofu WOW WOW WOW what a marvellous selection of eclectic flavours. Good to hear that they went down so went. I really like the toppings also. Great effort on this challenge. I was waiting for you to post so I could comment. Yours Audax

  2. You win the award for the most unique, creative flavor combos in a cheesecake! I would die to taste them all right this minute, or any time for that matter! Beautifully done!

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