New York–Style Cheesecake

For Mother’s Day dessert I served fresh picked organic strawberries with a delicious cheesecake. 

New York–Style Cheesecake
Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts

For the crust
9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the filling
Five 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I did a tbsp vanilla bean paste)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

Make the crust
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).

2. Grind the graham crackers to coarse crumbs in a food processor or with a rolling pin and a resealable plastic bag. Add the butter and sugar and process or stir until the crumb mixture is well blended and begins to stick together.

3. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom (but not the sides) of a 9-inch-diameter spring-form pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake the crust until golden and firm to touch, about 25 minutes. Cool the crust in the pan on the rack. Wrap the outside of the pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Keep the oven at 325°F (163°C).

Make the filling

4. While the crust bakes, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until blended.

5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until just blended after each addition. Then add the egg yolk, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Sift the flour over the filling and beat on low speed just until blended. Scrape the filling over the cooled crumb crust.

6. Place the foil-wrapped cake pan in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan on the oven rack, pulling the rack out slightly. Carefully add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath, rotating the pan once halfway through, until the center is softly set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven.

7. Let the cake pan stand in the water bath for 5 minutes. Remove the cake pan from the water bath and transfer it to a wire rack. Using a sharp, slender knife, work around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely at room temperature. Cover and—here’s the hard part—refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days prior to slicing.

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Blueberry Vanilla Cheesecake

Blueberry Vanilla Cheesecake
Adapted from The Bon Appétit Cookbook

For crust
1 1/2 cups ground shortbread cookies (recipe follows)
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For filling
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise (or 2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste)
1/3 cup whipping cream
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
12 oz fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For topping

1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup blueberry jam

Make crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind ground cookies, nuts and sugar in processor. Add butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Wrap outside of pan with foil. Bake until crust is light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Make filling:
Scrape seeds from vanilla beans into heavy small saucepan; add beans. Add cream and bring to boil. Cool completely. Discard beans.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Add vanilla-cream mixture, sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
Gently mix blueberries and cornstarch in medium bowl. Pour 2/3 of filling into crust. Sprinkle berry mixture over. Pour remaining filling over berries to cover. Bake until cake is golden and begins to crack around edges but still moves slightly in center when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes (cake will fall).
Make topping:
Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla in small bowl to blend.

Gently press down any raised edges of cake. Spoon topping evenly over cake. Bake 10 minutes. Cool cake on rack. Refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Melt jam in small saucepan over low heat. Brush some jam over top of cake. Arrange remaining berries atop cake. Gently brush berries with remaining jam. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Keep chilled.)

Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Place cake on platter. Serve cold.

Shortbread Cookies
The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
2 cups (8 1/2 oz) flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, salt, and sugar. Add flour and mix into a dough. Turn out onto parchment paper, shape into a long log and roll up. Freeze 1 hour. Slice into 1/2 inch slices with a sharp knife. Bake at 300 for 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Turtle Cheesecake

It’s my baby brother’s birthday and he’s requested Turtle Cheesecake.  After searching long and hard for a recipe, I’ve created my own version using multiple ideas and sources!

Turtle Cheesecake
1 Tablespoon Butter

Crust:
3 tbsp pecans
9 oz Trader Joe Joe’s chocolate creme cookies
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Filling
24 oz cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup brown sugar; packed then sifted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3 Eggs
1 Egg yolk
1/4 Cup heavy cream
5 Turtle candies, chopped

Milk Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 Cup Heavy cream
3/4 cup 60% bittersweet chocolate chips

Caramel Sauce:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter

Prepare the crust:
1. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon butter.
2. Using a food processor, chop nuts.  Add cookies and chop until fine.  With food process running, add butter.  Press crumb mixture on the bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate until firm.

Prepare the filling:
3. In the bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour and salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until free of lumps. Mix in vanilla. Beat in eggs and yolk, one at a time, and continue beating until batter is smooth. Stir in cream and candies. Pour filling into crust.
4. Bake on the middle shelf in a preheated 325-degree oven until cheesecake is fairly firm to touch (center will jiggle slightly when pan is tapped), about 40 minutes. Turn off oven, open door and pull out rack.  With rack pulled out, cool cake completely.  Refrigerate overnight.
5. Remove cheesecake from pan and decorate as desired. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Chocolate Ganache: Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat (do not let boil). Pour over chocolate chips. Whisk until melted and thoroughly blended. Let cool. Drizzle ganache over cake with a pastry bag or a spoon.

Caramel Sauce:  Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Boil, without stirring until deep amber in color.  Remove from heat and slowly stir in cream.  Add butter and stir until melted.

Chocolate Cheesecake

This was the first cheesecake that I braved and it turned out sensational!  Thanks, Kraft, for keeping it simple!

Best Ever Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from Kraft Foods

18 OREO Cookies, crushed
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. (8 squares) Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
3 eggs

HEAT oven to 325°F. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 min.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add chocolate; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

BAKE 45 to 55 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Carrot Cake Cheesecake2 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Carrot Cake
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots

Frosting:
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Cheesecake- Using stand mixer, mix cream cheese & sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add heavy cream and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Mix in cinnamon. Set aside
2. Carrot Cake- Using stand mixer, mix sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla until smooth and airy. Add pineapple, mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. With mixer running, slowly add flour mixture, mixing until combined.
3. Assembly- Thoroughly grease a 9 inch springform pan. Line with parchment paper for easy removal. Pour half of the carrot cake batter into pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes in a 350 degree oven. The cake will not be fully cooked. Drop cheesecake batter lightly onto cake and then add the remaining cake batter, allowing the cheesecake and cake batter to slightly mix. Bake for 50-60 minutes. One baking is complete, turn off oven, open oven door, and let cake stand in oven for at least 1 hour. Cool completely on counter. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
4. Frosting- Using stand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter, mixing until smooth. Add vanilla and sugar, mixing until smooth. Pipe frosting onto cake using decorator tools.

Update: I made this recipe again using the below method for the “cheesecake” portion. I much prefered it this way.
2 packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon

Tiramisu Cheesecake

I love, love, love the Tiramisu Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. We went to a friend’s house for dinner last night, and I offered to bring dessert. It was “Friday Night Pizza Night” so an Italian dessert was a must! What better time to try to make Tiramisu Cheesecake?! I made one batch of ladyfingers, but they shrunk a little waiting to go into the oven, so I could have used a few more. However, they were surprisingly easy to make. And it was my first time making a meringue, which I was also shocked at the simplicity of! The cheesecake was fantastic, everyone loved it. I couldn’t have picked a better dessert! Next time I’ll practice decorating, maybe get some chocolate covered espresso beans for the top?

Ladyfingers
Adapted from Joy of Baking
1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour, sifted
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated white sugar
Powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar for dusting the tops of the cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. To make the piping of the cookies easier, use a pencil and ruler to divide the parchment paper into three – 3 inch (7.5 cm) rows, with about 1 inch (2.54 cm) between rows. Have ready a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) round tip.

In your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) white sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. (When you raise the beaters the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the cake flour over the batter but do not fold in.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 3 tablespoons (36 grams) white sugar and whip until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag and, holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, pipe the batter into 3 inch (7.5 cm) long ladyfingers, using the lines drawn on the parchment paper as your guide. Pipe the batter leaving about a 1 inch (2.54 cm) space between the cookies.

When you have piped all the cookies, place the powdered sugar in a wire strainer, and lightly sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfingers are firm but barely browned and are still spongy when pressed with a finger.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and slide the parchment paper from the baking sheets onto a wire rack. Let the ladyfingers cool for a few minutes and release them from the parchment paper, with a flat spatula, while they are still warm. If you left them completely cool before removing them from the parchment they stick and hard to remove without breaking. Finish cooling the ladyfingers on the wire rack before using or storing. If you are not using the ladyfingers right away, freeze them. Ladyfingers stale very quickly unless they are soaked in a liquid. To store, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and freeze up to 2 weeks.

Tiramisu Cheesecake
adapted from All Recipes
1 batch ladyfingers
4 tablespoons butter, melted
5 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese (I found Tiramisu style that had coffee added), softened
1 cup white sugar
10 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
2 eggs
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place a pan of water on the bottom of oven. Crush the ladyfingers to fine crumbs. Mix the melted butter into the crumbs. Moisten with 5 tablespoons of the coffee liqueur. Press into a 9 inch springform pan. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar until very smooth. Add 10 tablespoons coffee liqueur, and mix. Add the eggs and the flour; mix SLOWLY until just smooth. The consistency of the mascarpone can vary. If the cheesecake batter is too thick, add a little cream. Do not overmix at this point. Pour batter into crust. Place pan on middle rack of oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set. Open oven door, and turn off the heat. Leave cake to cool in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let it finish cooling. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Chocolate Ganache
adapted from All Recipes
1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoons coffee flavored liqueur

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the liqueur. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.