Cheesecake

>Tonight we’re having a softball team party to celebrate the end of another season. Burgers and chips and potato salad and beer are on the menu so I figured I’d bring a cheesecake. Cheesecake is the world’s best dessert and as a plus, it’s a dessert that’s best served cold but not frozen. It’s so low maintenance. And did I mention delicious?

This is my favorite recipe from Cooks.com

Rich and Creamy Cheesecake

1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon zest from 1 small lemon
2
teaspoons vanilla

extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Place foil over bottom disk of a 9-inch springform pan, tucking excess underneath disk; assemble pan. Pull up foil around pan sides. Brush interior of pan with butter. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs into pan, tilting it in all directions to coat evenly with crumbs. Cover exterior of pan with a sheet of heavy-duty foil and set in a large roasting pan. Bring a kettle of water to a boil for water bath.
  2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium speed until it is fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl after each addition. (If you don’t scrape down bowl after the addition of each egg, any cream cheese sticking to the sides will make the batter lumpy.) Add zest and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Stir in cream and sour cream by hand.
  3. Pour batter into springform pan. Set roasting pan on oven rack, set springform pan in it, and pour in enough boiling water to come about halfway up the side of springform pan. Bake until perimeter of cake is set but center jiggles when pan is tapped, 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off heat and leave oven door ajar using a long-handled wooden spoon if necessary to hold it open for 1 hour. Remove springform pan from water bath and set on a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
sorry for the harsh yellowness…no natural light at night time makes
for weird looking photos.

I make a few alterations to the recipe though. I don’t do a traditional water bath as described above because neither my oven nor any of my ‘roasters’ are big enough for that. Instead I stick a pot of water on the bottom rack and place the cheesecake on the top rack. It seems to work just as well. Letting the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door open really does keep it from getting dry or cracking. The one I made last night was done baking at 11:30 so I just turned off the oven, opened the door and went to bed. When Senor got up for work in the morning, 4 hours later, he covered it with foil and stuck it in the fridge. This morning when I saw it, it looked completely perfect.

The ‘secret’ ingredient in this cheesecake is the lemon zest. They bake down so there’s no texture from the rind but the lemon flavor makes the cheesecake light and enhances the creaminess. Really, it does, I’m not just saying it.

Also, I use WAY more graham crackers and butter for the crust. 3 tbs of graham crackers would be barely a dusting of crust! I use 8 whole crackers and half a stick of butter. I want a substantial crust and this cheesecake is so light and dreamy (for reals) that you want a good sturdy crust to go with it. And instead of four blocks of cream cheese, I use two blocks of cream cheese and two blocks of reduced fat cream cheese. The lower fat version of cream cheese is softer and I think it makes the cream cheese smoother and softer once baked. I might be crazy but it tastes pretty good so I’m staying with it.

The finished product: TADA!

Do you see how the ‘edge’ on the bottom right corner is higher? That’s because
 the building floor is slanted and no matter what I do, I can’t bake an
even cake or pie. 

Summer barbecues are also pretty good places for cheesecake because you can just bring it plain, trusting that there will be some fruit there that people might want to put on top. I eat mine plain, occasionally with some whipped cream. I think that if I ate cheesecake often I would try out fancy flavors and varities, but since I don’t eat it very often, when I do I want the good old traditional stuff.

Don’t even talk to me about those no-bake cheesecake horrors. Blargh!

And, because everyone should be able to indulge now and then, here are the nutritional stats for this recipe, as I made it (thicker crust!).

1 9-inch Cheesecake, yields 12 pieces.

Calories 370
Fat 24.29g
Cholesterol 100.42 mg
Sodium 425.42 mg
Carbs 15.58 g
Fiber .38 g
Sugar 8.28 g
Protein 6.34 g
Considering a piece of Strawberry Pie from Baker’s Square has 500 calories, I think I’ll stick with the cheesecake.
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2 Comments on “Cheesecake”

  1. Miss_Riley says:

    >I love cheesecake! I'll definitely have to give this recipe a try.

  2. Wee says:

    >It's so yummy, I totally recommend it. I'm thinking about experimenting with it, taking out most of the lemon rind but using mint oreos for the crust and drizzling the top with chocolate or something. Yum…


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