For last month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge, we had to make a cheesecake that had me longing for my go-to cheesecake from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”. Since I live alone, I knew it would not be a good idea to make the cheesecake unless others were around. Fortunately, my stepmother, her husband (I still call her my stepmother even though she divorced my father and remarried many moons ago), and my half-brother wanted baked cheesecake. I brought down my stand mixer and new springform pan (which claims to be leakproof) to Houston and made the cheesecake for them.
I also made some homemade whipped cream to accompany the cheesecake. It was so good that my half-brother, who usually can eat forever without getting full, knew he had to stop eating more after one small slice in order to eat the bbq and sides my stepmom made (yes, he ate dessert first haha).
It was very rich. It was perfection.
My stepmom added a little bit of store-bought 🙁 strawberry glaze to my cheesecake, but I knew I couldn’t say anything about it haha. I just smiled, thanked her for her contribution, and took pictures of it.
You MUST try this cheesecake. I’m serious. The recipe can be halved easily. I wish I could make some more right now. *sigh*
My opinions about the springform pan:
When I first bought this pan, I tested it out by submerging it in water to see if it would leak. Since it didn’t, I made this cheesecake without foil. I noticed that the crust was a bit moist when I took off the sides of the pan (see pic below).
That could just be from condensation, though. Next time, I’m going to put on one layer of foil to see if it makes a difference. The crust was not soggy; it tasted just fine. So, I’m happy with this pan. I bought it for about 10 dollars from Wal-Mart.
In the photo above, you can see how the sides are flushed into the bottom of the pan to prevent leaks. You can also see the condensation on the sides of the pan.
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: A Basic
recipe copied and adapted from Smells Like Home.
For the Crust
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake
- 2 lbs (four 8oz boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
To Make the Crust
- Butter a 9″ springform pan – choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4″ high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter left over) – and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.
- Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. ( I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach slightly above or below the midway point on the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)
- Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake..
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
To Make the Cheesecake Batter
- Put a kettle of water on or a very large pot on to boil.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at a medium speed until soft and creamy; about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition – you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
- Put the foil-wrapped springform pan into a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it.
- Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula , just to make sure that there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the rim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower side and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or a small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top should be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
- After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster – be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack (about 1 hour).
- When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; overnight is better.
- At serving time, remove the sides of the springform pan (Greenspan suggests using a hairdryer to do this) and set the cake on a serving platter or leave it on the pan.