Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April Daring Bakers: Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

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

I don't think it is possible for me to post on time each month.  I'm always a few days behind it seems.  I'm not much of a cheesecake fan and would probably have never made this on my own.  i made it for Easter though and it turned out a lot lighter then other cheesecakes.  I changed mine up a bit as well.  I used vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers and added orange zest to the crust.  For the middle layer, I made it fairly close to the recipe (listed below) minus the 3 sticks of cream cheese and heavy cream.  For the topping, I made a really light whipped cream, orange juice, and sugar mixture which turned out fantastic.  We had it on Easter with a few friends and it turned out to really compliment the meal--and season. 

Disregard my terrible picture.  Ed was at school when I took it and I'm slightly retarded with his camera.

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!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Hi Brooke,
Sounds like you enjoyed some of this cheese cake. I found this a lovely one and not too heavy. Shhh don't tell I didn't use the full fat cream cheese but then I never do. Like the vanilla waffers and zest.

I saw your question about bread groups and left an answer on the Daring Baker blog for you.

Jenny said...

I love citrus with this cheesecake. Thanks for being a part of this challenge, ooh, and saw you're having a boy, congrats!

Jenny of JennyBakes