The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I got the pictures downloaded from the new camera just in time! This is by far THE BEST cheesecake recipe I have ever tried. And I've tried lots. I made the recipe just as written, no special high altitude or humidity alterations. I baked it just as long as the recipe said. And they came out perfect. Ok, so one cracked a little, but they didn't fall, leaving a huge crater cheesecake. The texture is amazing (I credit that to the full cup of cream in the recipe! But seriously, it's cheesecake, if you're wanting low-fat, don't make cheesecake.) I will never ever use another recipe again.Since we were given so much latitude with creativity, I went a little crazy. First stop, Turtle Cheesecake: plain cheesecake, topped with homemade caramel, chocolate, and pecans. Second stop, Passionfruit Lavender Cheesecake: plain again, topped with passionfruit jelly and lavender. Third stop, Cheesecake Brownies. The pictures of the first two cheesecakes were taken during the initial stages of me getting used to the new camera, so I'm sorry, they're kindof ugly. The brownie pics (and flora) were taken a week later, and in natural light, which definitely improved the results. High-five for another amazing DB Challenge ;)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Brownie base from David Lebovitz