Saturday, October 23, 2010
Plain (but Perfect) Cheesecake
Alyssa requested a PLAIN cheesecake for her birthday. She didn't want any fancy crusts, fillings, toppings, swirled flavors, etc. She just wanted a graham cracker crust, regular cheesecake, and served with fresh raspberries (no sauce). I was initially a tad bit disappointed with her choice, but after eating it, we all agreed that she made a great decision! The cheesecake was perfectly creamy, and fresh raspberries were a great compliment. This is the same basic cheesecake recipe I use for mini cheesecakes, but I'm posting it here again to include the baking instructions for the 9-inch version. By the way, I absolutely LOVE my new cheesecake pan (a Magic Line 9x3-inch round cheesecake pan with a removable bottom but no spring on the side).
Rich and Creamy Cheesecake
2 cups (10 oz—or about 2 packages) crushed graham crackers
8 tablespoons (4 oz) butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons (1 ½ oz) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds regular cream cheese
1 ¼ cups (8 ¾ oz) sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon zest from 1 small lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup (2 oz) heavy cream
¼ cup (2 oz) sour cream
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Wrap two layers of heavy duty foil around outside of 9-inch springform pan.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, brown sugar, flour and salt and mix well. Press about half (or up to 2/3) of the crumbs onto bottom of springform pan. Press remaining crumbs around side of pan, about 1 inch high. Bake the crust until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool on wire rack.
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 each egg, any cream cheese sticking to sides will make batter lumpy.) Add zest and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Stir in cream and sour cream by hand. (Note: do not over mix or cake will puff up from too much air and then collapse.)
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. (Note: this time frame will vary considerably depending on what pan you use--check early just to make sure you don't overbake it.) Turn off heat and leave oven door ajar, using a long-handled kitchen fork or 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. Cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Recipe Source: The Perfect Recipe by Pam Anderson
P.S. Here's a picture of my cheesecake pan (from Amazon.com):