The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Let me start by saying how excited I am to be posting for my very first Daring Bakers Challenge!! I was delighted when I saw my first challenge was going to be making Cheesecake! I absolutely LOVE Cheesecake!!! Over the years I have eaten a tone of Cheesecakes and made a few that were ok, but this was by far the best I have ever had.
We were given a plain Cheesecake recipe and were told to be creative! This really got my mind going, free range of flavour??? What was I going to do??? So many flavour options and combinations to consider. After many days of deliberation and discussion with my fiancé I finally decided on what I called “Tuxedo Turtle Cheesecake”. Despite a few chocolate disasters (stayed tuned!) the Cheesecake turned out amazing!
I got a little carried away when I was making it and forgot to take pictures! There are a few of the process, but I will have to remember to do more next time. Here is how it goes….
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
**We were able to use a crust that suited our cheesecake so I decided to use an Oreo Cookie Crust. 1¼ cups of cookie crumbs and ¼ cup of melted butter. (I doubled the recipe; I like a lot of crust and wanted it to come up the edges a bit)
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
**I followed the recipe very closely. I only omitted the lemon juice and added Chocolate, I will explain later…
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.
Notes: This is where I omitted the lemon juice. When all the above ingredients were well mixed I separated the batter in half. Using 2 double boilers I melted 6 oz of semi sweet baking chocolate and 3 oz of white baking chocolate. Once they were cooled I stirred semi sweet into one half of the better and the white chocolate into the other.
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.
Notes: First I poured the semi sweet chocolate onto the crust then carefully layering the white chocolate.
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!
The next day I finished it off with melted caramels. A thick ring of caramel around the top kept the nuts in place.
Next came my chocolate disaster!!! I will say there is no English word strong enough to show how much I hate working with melted chocolate!
Attempt #1 I had originally wanted to put a chocolate gnash on top, so I made one and it just would not thicken, so I gave up. I thought, ok ill just drizzle some chocolate on top.
Attempt #2 I used semi sweet chocolate = it seized!
Attempt #3 I used Easter eggs = chocolate was so cheap it was like pasty goo!
Attempt #4 I ended up melting 2 Lindtt chocolate bunnies I got for Easter. They worked very well and tasted amazing! A few spoonfuls didn’t make it to the cheesecake lol.
I drizzled layers of the melted chocolate and melted caramels over the top as garnish.
The final product was absolutely amazing! I will definitely be making this recipe in the future! Looking forward to next months challenge.