First off Happy Mother’s Day to all the yummy mummies out there!
This mother’s day I wanted to bake something a little more special than just a cake, and seeing as how I had just made my mom a Carrot Cake for her birthday a couple weeks ago, I thought I would hold off on another cakey creation, that we would eat for about a week… So I thought about what my mother might like instead, and then it came to me. A Cheesecake!
A couple reasons for this is because a. my mom had actually came home from work one day a while back with a brand new springform pan for me, cause she knew I didn’t have one, and b. because every time my mom has gone on a cruise ship (and believe me, she’s been on a million) she always says she loves having the NY Cheesecake. I remember she would go to High Tea every day on the ship just for the cheesecake, and was rather dissapointed once when they didn’t have any! Shocking, a cruise ship with no Cheesecake! So I thought it would be nice to bake her one from scratch, non of this no-bake, pre-bought cardboard tasting cheesecake. Nope, it would be straight fom the oven! And, even though It was hard, I waited the agonizing million hours for it to bake, and cool completely, and store in the fridge over night. Luckily she wasn’t home at the time so I could do all this without her knowledge, and have it ready for the reveal on mothers day morning. Along with pancakes for breakfast and of course home made strawberry coulis! I also found the cutest mothers day card, which I thought was quite fitting! (see below)
Now, I think I had only ever made a cheesecake once before for thanksgiving, a pumpkin one, and it didn’t turn out so great. But! this one is definitely a winner and a great basic like Dorie says. You can add many variations to it or have it just plain. I stuck with plain, and made some strawberry coulis to go with it. The recipe is super easy to follow, and I highly recommend the water bath, and hair dryer technique!.. you’ll see. Enjoy! Love you mom!
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: A Basic
– makes 16 servings –
From Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
For the crust
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
To make the crust:
1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the botto
m of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.
2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
To make the cheesecake:
1. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
2. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
4. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
6. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack. ( I was a little hasty and placed it in the fridge after about an hour with a small piece or saran wrap, and I noticed condensation forming, so instead I placed a piece of paper towel on top of the pan so as to not touching the cake, so nothing would drip onto the cheesecake)
7. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.
Serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan—I use a hairdryer to do this (use the dryer to warm the sides of the pan and ever so slightly melt the edges of the cake)—and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.
Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.
If you follow the instructions carefully, you will have a perfect cheesecake! You can also add things like chocolate to the mix, or make a gingersnap crust, or add nuts to the crust, or use the zest of lime or lemons to make a citrus cheesecake. This one is a great base to work with.
To Make Strawberry Coulis – In a blender (I just used my KitchenAid blender) or chopper, or magic bullet, blend/pulse 1 package of strawberries, frozen thawed or fresh, with a couple tablespoons of sugar and a splash of lemon juice until you reach a consistency you like. Serve at room temperature, or you can refrigerate.