cheesecake

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

So the Dulce de Leche I made recently kept taunting me every time I opened the refrigerator, just daring me to open a jar, get a spoon, and start eating.  My will power, surprisingly enough, held that idea in check, but I knew it was only a matter of time, so I figured I outta do something with Dulce de Leche.

There’s no shortage of yummy things to make with Dulce de Leche, but when the Kuhn Rikon Push Pan I’d ordered arrived, I knew it had to be a cheesecake.  The Kuhn Rikon Push Pan has a silicon ring at the base which claims to eliminate the need wrap the pan in double foil when using a water bath.

The Dulce de Leche isn’t a super strong flavor, so I jacked up the flavor with some peanut butter, and topped the cheesecake with a chocolate ganache, as peanut butter/Dulce de Leche and chocolate are like the yin and yang of sweets.  With the sweetness of the Dulce de Leche and the peanut butter, I was able to tune back the amount of sugar typically used in a cheesecake. [continued after the jump...]

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Espresso Chocolate Oreo Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Espresso Chocolate Oreo Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Yeah, there’s no typo in the title.  And yes, it tastes as good as the title would suggest!  Much easier to make than the long list of ingredients and steps would indicate.

I ran across this recipe about a year ago, and almost gave up on it after making it twice, and the recipe just not cutting it as far as I was concerned (my garbage disposal loved it though!).  Biggest hits of the original recipe were that the coffee flavor was overpowering, and with the firm cookie dough layer placed on top, the cheesecake ended up getting squished out the sides when I tried to cut it.  Disappointing to say the least, but I still thought it had potential, as it wasn’t just a bunch of ingredients thrown into a cheesecake, but ingredients that complimented and accentuated each other.

I didn’t find that the sour cream layer added much to the taste, and never quite firmed up, so I ditched it.  In addition to baking the crust before filling it, I reduced the amount of Oreos called for, as I was just lining the bottom of the springform pan.  The ganache layer was too thick and hard, so I cut back on the amount of ganache called for, and used more cream to make the layer less firm (and easier to cut).  I swapped out the cheesecake filling called for and substituted my well-proven recipe.

The biggest sticking point was the cookie dough layer.  Placed on top, it would squeeze out the cheesecake filling when cut.  I considered freezing the entire baked cheesecake, but thought that was extreme, as who really wants to each frozen cheesecake?  Finally, it occurred to me that if I placed the cookie dough layer between the baked crust/ganache and the cheesecake filling, then baked the cheesecake, the cookie dough layer would be insulated from being baked and still come out cookie dough and not a half baked cookie.  Bingo! [continued after the jump...]

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

When I first saw this in Cook’s Illustrated back in the Nov/Dec 2003 edition, I knew I had to try it.

I’d eaten pumpkin cheesecakes before, but they always left something to be desired.  Either too soft and runny (pumpkin has a lot of moisture in it), too artificial tasting (using flour or cornstarch to make up for the moisture in the pumpkin), or not enough pumpkin taste (use less pumpkin to reduce the amount of moisture).

The folks at CI came up with a simple way to remove the excess moisture from the pumpkin: simply spread it out over paper towels, and let the paper towels soak up the excess moisture.

I made it for Thanksgiving dinner that year, and from the looks on people’s faces when they took a bite, I wasn’t the only one who’d had less-than-spectacular pumpkin cheesecake.

Not the case with this pumpkin cheesecake.  Perfect cheesecake texture with pumpkin pie taste!

Fast forward 9 years later, and I’ve made this at least once, if not 2-3x times, a year to rave reviews. I guess you can file this under ‘so good it doesn’t last long enough to get a photo of’, hence the lack of a blog post (until now).

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What better way to relaunch the website than on National Cheesecake Day?

Yes, July 30th is National Cheesecake Day.  When I realized it was coming up, I also realized that I had never posted my cheesecake recipe on the blog.  Sure, I’ve done some cheesecakes, but never *the* cheesecake recipe that always gets lot of compliments no matter when I make it.

How good is this recipe?  Even non-cheesecake lovers (yes, I was sad to learn such people exists too!) like this cheesecake.  Perfect blend of cream cheese to sugar, and a texture that is out of this world.

The biggest compliment that I received about this cheesecake was from a couple that lives in New York City (a city famous for it’s cheesecake).  Living in NYC, they had been exposed to the city’s best cheesecakes.  In their opinion, my cheesecake was as good, if not better, than anything they had tasted in NYC!  I’ll take a compliment like that any day!

Cheesecake

4oz graham cracker crumbs (1 cup)
1 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp melted butter, plus 1 tsp for greasing pan

2 1/2pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (about 45-60 minutes)
1/8 tsp salt
10 1/2oz sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
6 eggs

  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom of 9″ springform pan with 1 tsp melted butter. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Spray a flat bottomed drinking glass with cooking spray (Pam) and press crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  • Bring 1 quart of water to boil while making the cheesecake filling.
  • In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.
  • Wrap the springform pan in a double cover of aluminum foil.  Set springform pan in a roasting pan. Pour filling into cooled crust, place in oven, and pour boiling water into the roasting pan, coming no more than 1/2 way up the springform pan.
  • Bake for 2 hours, or until center of cheesecake registers 160 degrees.  Remove pan from water bath and remove foil  from pan.  Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)

To serve: remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Notes:

  • Make sure you use use 18″ side aluminum foil, and not the 12″ wide. With the 12″ wide, you will have a seam that will let in water
  • As with all cheesecakes, don’t cook it until it looks done, or you will over cook it. The residue heat from the cheesecake itself will continue to cook it even after you take it out of the oven

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Greek yogurt low-fat cheesecake

Greek yogurt low-fat cheesecake

When I got my Greek style yogurt maker, it came with a book of recipes, one of which was a cheesecake.  After doing some research, I found that you can use a 1:2 ratio of Greek yogurt to cream cheese to make a Greek yogurt cheesecake.  I saw a few “low fat” cheesecake recipes that talked of using cottage cheese to lower the fat content of the cheesecake without losing much in the way of taste.  I finally found a cheesecake recipe that called for Greek style yogurt, cottage cheese, and of course, cream cheese.

To a cheesecake connoisseur, low-fat cheesecake is borderline blasphemy, an urban myth, a mystical creation which hasn’t been discovered.  Well, no more.  I think we’ve all tried “low fat” cheesecake, and found that “low fat” is a code phrase for “bland and tasteless”.  Not so with this cheesecake.  This is a cheesecake you could easily serve and people would never know it’s a low fat version.  Actually, if they try a piece of it first, they probably won’t believe you when you tell them it’s low fat.  How good is it?  Well, living up to this blog’s name, I had a piece of it for breakfast this morning (that’s the highest compliment I can give a dessert) [continued after the jump...]

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New England-style Egg Nog Cheesecake

Cheesecake it a love/hate relationship for me.  I know what good cheesecake tastes like, and so far, I know the only way to get that type of cheesecake is to make my own. Ordering cheesecake in a restaurant or even a bakery always leads to disappointment.   Another food item I can’t get anywhere else but home.

Of course, I’m always game for a new twist on cheesecake, [continued after the jump...]

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