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Daring Bakers - Cheesecake!

 

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

 

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Mmmmm, cheesecake is good (well this one anyway's!).  I'm not really a lover of cheesecake so I wasn't overly thrilled when I saw this was the challenge but my husband loves cheesecake so I thought I would give it a whirl.  I'd actually never made a cheesecake before!  The daring bakers were told to use the basic cheesecake recipe but play with the crust and you could top it however you wanted so I decided to do Autumn Harvest Cheesecake.  What is Autumn Harvest Cheesecake you ask?  It's a lovely light cheesecake with apples mixed with sugar, cinnamon and pecans on top.  I also threw a few pecans into the crust to break up the graham cracker crust. 

I was thrilled with the final product of this cheesecake.  I would definitely make it again!  Which, coming from me ( a cheesecake disliker) means a lot! I have also found many recipes that I might alter by using this cheesecake and the other ideas such as a brownie crust and Oreo's crushed on top and a few mixed in, oh my!  I won't be doing that right away as I'm back on Weight Watchers trying to lose this baby weight for good.  Being a baby baker sure makes it hard to keep the weight off!  I will one day soon though hopefully be back to looking like I did before I had two little wonderful boys.  I wouldn't trade them for anything but my body sure has taken a beating!

Without further ado here is recipe for this wonderful cheesecake, try it!  You'll like it!

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

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crust:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I did 1/2 cup of crushed pecans and 1 1/2 cups of graham crackers)
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 (didn't put any in)

Topping:

3 cups of apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices.

1/2 white sugar

2 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

DIRECTIONS:DSCF0051
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. DSCF0056

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. (If your making it like I did put the topping on now otherwise just keep following the instructions).  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!

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P.S.  Come back on the May 14, 2009 and see what the Daring Cooks have up their sleeves!!!

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