June 27, 2011

Ode to the Cheesecake and a Recipe

That cheesecake, oh that cheesecake.
I recently made this cheesecake as the Groom's cake for my sweet sister's wedding. It was A.MA.ZING! Like, gone 20 minutes into the reception amazing. I will say however, that it was a labor of love. Brandon is fortunate that I love him as much as I do! When I posted about the wedding I promised that I would post the recipe this week. I borrowed a recipe from here, and made a few changes. I've included the original recipe and added my changes in green. Hope that helps!

So, without further ado here it is: 
Here's what you'll need..  

For the Crust

2 cups (I used 1 1/2 cups) of Graham cracker crumbs (from a little less than 2 packages Graham crackers
2 Tbsp sugar
Pinch salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter 


2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

(This is where the original recipe lists the ingredients to make the toppings. I didn't make either one of them, I simply cut some strawberries and piled them on top!)

Special equipment needed

9-inch, 2 3/4-inch high springform pan
Heavy-duty, 18-inch wide aluminum foil
A large, high-sided roasting pan (I used one of those disposable aluminum pans you can get from the grocery store.)
Now let's get to it...
Prepare the crust:
1. Prepare the springform pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking.* Place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the springform pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don't create any holes in the foil. If there are any holes, water will get into the pan and ruin the crust. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan, and repeat, gently folding up the sides of the foil around the pan and pressing the foil against the pan. Gently crimp the top of the foil sheets around the top edge of the pan. (I used 4 sheets of aluminum foil. Overkill? Maybe but I didn't have the time or energy to have to re-make it!)
2. Preheat oven to 350°F, with rack in lower third of oven. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until finely ground. (I used a mortar and pestle) Put in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Use your (clean) hands to stir in the melted butter.
3. Put all but 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the springform pan. (Save the remaining 1/4 cup for if you happen to have any holes that need to be filled in, either while you are making the crust, or after the cake has cooked and you've unmolded it.) (I didn't set any crumbs to the side- I used them all) Gently press down on the crumbs using your fingers, until the crumbs are a nice even layer at the bottom of the pan, with maybe just a slight rise along the inside edges of the pan. Be careful as you do this, as not to tear the aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Make the filling:
4. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until smooth, soft and creamy. Add the sugar, beat for 4 minutes more. Add the salt and vanilla, beating after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the sour cream, beat until incorporated. Add the heavy cream, beat until incorporated. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer that paddle attachment has failed to incorporate. (Be sure you pay mindful attention to your time, I even set a timer!)

Cook the cheesecake:
5. Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, over the graham cracker bottom layer. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place the roasting pan with the springform pan in it, in the oven, on the lower rack. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan (without touching the hot oven), to create a water bath for the cheesecake, pouring until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan, about 1 1/4 inches. (Alternatively you can add the water before putting the pan in the oven, whichever is easier for you.) (Yeah, I added the water first!) Cook at 325°F for 1 1/2 hours.
6. Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the oven door 1-inch, and let the cake cool in the oven, as the oven cools, for another hour. This gentle cooling will help prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking. (Again, I set a timer and it didn't crack at all!)
7. Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn't actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.

Prepare the cake to serve:
8. Open the springform latch and gently open the pan and lift up the sides. Add whatever toppings you like and serve!

I hope you love this one as much as we did. It is definitely a staple for our family get-togethers from now on!

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1 comment:

  1. Hmm.. This cheesecake looks so yummy! Thank you for sharing! :)