Say Cheesecake

Finished cheesecake fork

Good Afternoon!  In my intro to the blogging world, I mentioned that the following day would be cheesecake day.  Well it came, and it went. Cheesecake to me, is a very decadent, indulgent treat that we fear most.  (For me it’s cow tongue, not gonna happen)  This creamy and very dreamy creation is loved by so many.  The fears of this dessert come from its main ingredients; cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. 

Of course I could “sugar coat” the whole process, but it’s true, cheesecake is not a healthy choice.  Setting fear aside, it’s DELICIOUS!!!  We the eater, choose how we proceed.  You want a small piece, a medium piece, or to eat the whole thing after a break-up?  Who am I to judge.  Cheesecake is so versatile.  You can create so many flavors, and there are so many topping choices.  I’m a plain style myself.  The clean smooth texture is very enticing to the taste buds.  They deserve a party every now and then.

cheesecake base crust

The base of a cheesecake could not get any simpler.  Also, the base can be versatile.  Anything from graham crackers, pretzels, to nuts can be used to form the platform of a cheesecake.  Graham cracker crusts are the most well-known in the cheesecake world.  Involving only crumbs, sugar, and butter.  Like magic, you have it!  Some bake their crust before adding the filling, some do a straight bake.  I prefer a solid base.  You’ll want to grease the spring form pan that you have chosen, usually a 9″.  Once mixed, baking for 7 to 9 minutes at 375 degrees, your base is pretty fool-proof.  Cool this down before adding the filling.  No one likes a rubber seal.  (except on jars, water coolers, tires…I could go on)

cream cheese filling whipped

Lets get to filling this up with cheese love.  The filling, again, very simple.  Cream cheese is the main start to this masterful piece.  Most recipes call for 32 oz. of the white, bagel loving spread.  Anything that needs to be creamed *blended to a whipped consistency*, should be left out until softened at room temperature.  Don’t fear dairy!  You can leave cream cheese out overnight the day before you assemble.

bowl of sugar for cheesecake  Vanilla-extract  cheesecake egg of four

After you’ve whipped the cream cheese, adding your sugar and vanilla should be next.  Once the blending is done, add your eggs; one at a time.  You hear this a lot, “add your eggs one at a time”.  “Why Sarah, I’m sure you’ve dumped them all in to save time.”  You’d be right!  For cheesecakes however, no.  Adding them one at a time, and fully mixing the filling between each egg, guarantees full egg distribution.  You want to make sure no yolk is fully left behind.  (What??  I could have cheesecake for breakfast?) Now that the base is cooled, pour the filling into the spring form pan. 

pouring the cheesecake filling

Now we’ll talk water baths.  A water bath is a technique used in many baking methods.  This allows for a smooth bake, no cracking on top of the cake or custards.  The steam from the water creates enough moisture in the oven, allowing for a silky texture and not a dry one.  There are many preferences to how this method takes place.  You should place the spring form pan inside a larger roasting pan, centered.  You’ll notice in the last photograph (pic 6), that there is aluminum foil surrounding the pan.  This will help prevent any water from seeping into the pan and making the crust soggy.  *If you find moisture has leaked, it will only be partial.  No worries, it happens*  Once the pan is placed in your preheated oven, you’ll then add boiled water to the pan, careful not to slosh.  Water should come up to about an inch.  Water is best poured once the pan is in the oven, as to not splash into the filling.

hot-water-bath

Cheesecake bakes for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.  The center of the cake will jiggle slightly, about a two to three inch portion of the center.  Anything more than this, cook in five minute intervals.  Depending on oven, there may or may not be browning.  This is okay.  Some people like a solid consistency, others like a more creamy consistency.  I myself can eat either.  It’s cheesecake!!! 

Full cheesecake unshelled

The love of my life, well, he shall remain nameless at this time.  The other love of my life, baking.  When one can create something like this, it may seem silly to some, but for me, it’s wonderment.  The most joy I get from baking, is watching others smile when they taste something I’ve made.  Now that’s “the icing on the cake”.

*Full recipe and special ingredients will not be listed at this time.  Recipe will be available in the cookbook release.*

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