The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I made this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge recipe weeks ago, before the South Beach Diet was a glimmer in my eye. And it’s a good thing, too, because I think I ate half of it by myself. Friends, this is a fantastic cheesecake. I divided the batter in half and made two smallish cheesecakes. One was plain cheesecake with strawberry sauce (and it was so good). For the second, I mixed about half a cup of Nutella in with a cup of batter and swirled it into the batter in the pan. It was good, but it would’ve been better if I’d made a chocolatey crust for it.
This cheesecake freezes really well. I flipped the plain cheesecake out of the pan and wrapped in solidly in plastic wrap. Then I put it back into the pan and stuck it in the freezer. I took it out and thawed it about a week later. And I was in cheesecake heaven all over again.
Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake
For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz), room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 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, 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!