Wednesday, June 24, 2009

WDW - Cheesecake part 1


Do you have a good cheesecake recipe? I have two very different ones - one is more of a cake, and the other more of a pie. Today, I will share the recipe for the more traditional, cake one. This cheesecake is tall, looks rich and beautiful on the plate, and is super easy to make. You will need a 9" springform pan for this recipe. And, plan ahead: this cake takes about 7 hours from start to finish, plus it is best refrigerated for 2 days before serving.

I am kind of a purist when it comes to cheesecakes. I don't really like flavored cheesecakes all that much (well, I might be persuaded by some of the flavors at The Cheesecake Factory). I don't really even like to put fruit topping on cheesecake. I like mine plain- simple and creamy, with nothing to clutter the texture and flavor. Truth be known, I actually stay away from cheesecake most of the time (let's face it: it's pure fat). But, every once in awhile, a good piece of cheesecake is truly divine. It's a classic dessert, good to have in the repertoire.

So, this is a traditional New York style cheesecake. In America, there are basically two types of cheesecake: New York and Philadelphia style. And yes, you can make a New York style cheesecake using Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. (I know, it's a bit confusing. I'll explain later.) I'm not really sure what the major difference is between the two cheesecake types, though Philadelphia style is supposed to be lighter in texture than New York style. I would guess that New York style is probably denser and creamier, which is what I like.

But, before I begin, here are some interesting facts about cheesecake, just for your reading pleasure:

~Cheesecake is believed to have originated in ancient Greece. Historians believe that cheesecake was served to the athletes during the first Olympic Games held in 776 B.C. (Just what I want to eat after completing rigorous athletic activity.)

~The first cream cheese was made in New York in 1872 by an American dairyman William Lawrence. In 1880, ‘Philadelphia’ was adopted as the brand name, after the city that was considered at the time to be the home of top quality food. In 1903, the Phoenix Cheese Company of New York bought the business and with it the Philadelphia trademark. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese was bought by the Kraft Cheese Company in 1928. Kraft Foods still owns and produces Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese today. James L. Kraft invented pasteurized cheese in 1912, and that lead to the development of pasteurized Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, it is now the most popular cheese used for making cheesecake today.

~Almost all modern cheesecakes in the United States use cream cheese; in Italy, cheesecakes use ricotta and Germany uses quark cheese. (Quark cheese? Sounds appetizing.)

~Despite their name, cheesecakes are technically tarts, that is, open-topped pies; the word 'cake' was formerly applied to a much broader category of foods than it is today.

~A common difficulty with baking cheesecakes is its tendency to "crack" when cooled. This is due to the coagulation of the beaten eggs in its batter. There are various methods to prevent this. One method is to bake the cheesecake in a hot water bath to ensure even heating.

Well, you can tell someone's been on Wikipedia. Ahem.

I will post my other recipe in a couple weeks. Trust me, you'll need a break.

New York Style Cheesecake

15 graham cracker halves, finely crushed
2-3 Tbsp. melted butter
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
¼ cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” springform pan.

In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Start with 2 Tbsp. butter, and add the extra 1 Tbsp. if mixture seems too dry. Press mixture into bottom of springform pan.

In KitchenAid bowl, combine cream cheese with sugar and beat until smooth. Slowly beat in milk, then add eggs one at a time and beat just until combined. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and flour, and beat just until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn oven off, and leave cheesecake in oven 6 hours, leaving door closed. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1-2 days before serving.

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1 comment:

Jensen Family said...

I can't wait to try this... and I mean try this!