The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Funnily enough, the April 2008 challenge was also Cheesecake…cheesecake pops! This month we had pretty much free reign to do what we liked with the cake: savoury, sweet, fruity, decadent etc…yum, have I mentioned I love cheesecake? I decided to take it in the sweet and fruity direction, however I still have mini Camembert cheesecakes with frizzled prosciutto as a savoury creation for the next time I need to bring an appy somewhere! (even served warm they sound delish!).
Back to the challenge at hand. As I mentioned over the Easter weekend, I was charged with a dessert. What better way to use the Daring Bakers Cheesecake – less in the house for the two of us! I was trying to think of pastel colours, came up with pink, yellow and green. Wanting to use my mini cheesecake pan, I thought this would work out wonderfully. From there I matched up fruit combos. The colours however didn’t come out as vibrant as I had wanted, but I didn’t want to use food colouring, so alas, they all kind of look the same. The combinations were:
- Pink = cherry
- Green = lime and vanilla
- Yellow = coconut and pineapple
The recipe below made 12 mini cheesecakes (2 inches or so), 4 of each flavour and a 6 inch cake, layerd flavours…starting with cherry, then lime, finally pineapple.
I topped the cheesecakes with whipped cream, and the little marshmallow bunnies I posted a few weeks back, a little coloured sugar and little Easter eggs. Simple. What it needed though was some sort of sauce, so I whipped up a pineapple/cherry coulis.
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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
My changes: I did not add any lemon juice. I divided the batter into three equal parts. To one, I added the juice and zest of two limes, and 1 extra Tbsp vanilla pure clear extract. To a second, 1/3 cup chopped up pineapple, 1/8 cup pineapple juice and 1 Tbsp coconut extract. To the final, 1/4 cup chopped up canned cherries, and 1/8 cup cherry juice.
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!