Bake the Perfect Cheesecake
Cheesecakes are the ideal party dessert. They are smooth and
creamy in texture, satisfying to eat and the different flavors make it possible
to find one that will suit any menu. While purists like cheesecake plain or
topped with sour cream, others prefer it loaded with all kinds of other goodies.
Some favor their cheesecake creamy, light and airy, while others prefer a
denser, drier style.
Cheese, of course, is the common denominator, with choices ranging from cream
cheese (full-fat, Neufchatel or fat-free), to cottage cheese, ricotta,
mascarpone, yogurt and various combinations. Fillings can run the gamut from
chocolate and white chocolate to raspberry, pineapple, coconut, chocolate chips,
Grand Marnier, Kahlua, candy bars, peanut butter, pecans, peanuts and
Cheesecakes can be made both sweet and savory. Make them a day ahead of time if
you can and allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving.
Before you read through the tips below, here is the most
important one - cracks don't ruin the flavor of a cheesecake. You can always
cover them with fruit or another topping.
Tips for Cheesecake Baking Success
For a smooth filling mixture, be sure cream cheese is soft or at room
temperature. This usually takes about thirty minutes.
Don't overbeat. Incorporating too much air into the batter can cause the
cheesecake to rise too quickly and then fall.
Place spring form pan on a shallow pan, like a pizza pan, or cover bottom and
up one inch around the sides with aluminum foil to avoid leaks in the oven.
Place a shallow pan of water in rack below cheesecake to keep oven moist.
A perfectly baked cheesecake will be puffed around the edges. When shaken,
about an inch in diameter in the center should jiggle.
Do not open the oven door during the first 30 minutes of baking. Drafts can
cause a cheesecake to fall or crack.
Use a metal spatula around the edges of the pan immediately after removing
the cheesecake from the oven. This allows the cheesecake to pull away from the
sides of the pan freely.
Cracks and falls are natural to cheesecakes, but the problem, say some bakers,
can be reduced by cooling cheesecakes slowly in the oven with the door open two
to three hours or until the oven reaches room temperature. Let the cheesecake
"rest" after baking.
Do not jar the cheesecake while it is baking or cooling.
Expect a slight shrinkage as it cools. If there is great shrinkage, you have
baked it at too high a heat.
Substitute reduced-fat and fat-free cream cheeses in recipes at your own risk --
they are softer and more watery and may yield different-textured results. For
best results, rely on recipes developed calling for those specific ingredients.
Lindy's Restaurant Famous Cheesecake
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1/4 lb. softened butter
2 1/2 lbs. cream cheese
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons each of grated orange and lemon rind
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
In large bowl combine flour, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. Make a well in the
center of mixture, add egg yolk and butter and form into a dough (adding a
little water if necessary to make it pliable). Wrap in waxed paper and chill for
In another bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour and orange and lemon rind
with an electric mixer. Add eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and beat well. Add heavy
cream and blend thoroughly.
Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
Roll out 1/3 of dough to 1/8 inch thickness and mold to the pan's bottom.
Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned, then remove
Cut remaining dough to line the sides of the pan thoroughly.
Add cream cheese mixture, bake at 500°F for 10 minutes, then bake at 200°F for 1
hour. Allow to cool.
New York Cheesecake
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 egg white, beaten
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform
pan. Whisk the dry ingredients together by hand or in a processor (process about
10 seconds). Mash in butter with fork or process until the mixture resembles
coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk and mix or process just until the dough forms a
Press about 1/3 of the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Prick dough all
over with a fork. Bake until crust is lightly golden brown, about 10 to 15
minutes. Cool completely on rack. Press remaining dough around the sides of the
pan, making sure that the dough is attached to the bottom crust. Brush the
bottom and sides of the crust with the egg white. Refrigerate the crust until
ready to use.
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese (5 8-ounce packages)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, optional
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 500° F. Have all ingredients at room
Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and
flour; beat until smooth and creamy, scraping the beaters and sides of bowl,
about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla. Beat in the eggs and
yolks one at a time, just until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl and
the beaters after each addition. On low speed, beat in the cream.
Scrape the batter into the crust and smooth the top. Bake for 15 minutes at 500°
F. Reduce the oven temperature to 200° F. and bake for 1 hour more. Turn the
oven off, prop the oven door open. Let the cake cool in oven for 30 minutes.
Remove to a rack and let cool completely in the pan before unmolding. Cover and
refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably 24 hours before serving.
Makes about 15 to 20 servings.
Chocolate Glazed Triple Layer Cheesecake
1 8 1/2 ounce package chocolate wafer cookies, crushed
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened and divided
3 eggs, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla, divided
2 1 ounce squares semisweet chocolate, melted
1 1/3 cups sour cream, divided
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
chocolate glaze, recipe follows
chocolate leaves, optional
Combine cookie crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter in medium bowl; blend well.
Press into the bottom and 2 inch up sides of 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.
Combine 1 8 ounce package cream cheese and 1/4 sugar; beat
until fluffy. Add 1 egg and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla; blend well. Stir in melted
chocolate and 1/3 cup sour cream. Spoon over chocolate crust.
Combine remaining 8 ounce package cream cheese, brown sugar
and flour; beat until mixture is fluffy. Add 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla;
blend well. Stir in pecans. Spoon gently over chocolate layer.
Combine 5 ounces cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar;
beat until fluffy. Add egg; blend well. Stir in remaining 1 cup sour cream, 1/4
teaspoon vanilla and almond extract. Spoon gently over praline layer.
Bake at 325° F. for 1 hour; turn off oven and leave
cheesecake in oven for 30 minutes; open door of oven and leave cheesecake in
oven an additional 30 minutes.
Cool. Chill 8 hours. Remove from pan. Spread warm chocolate
glaze over cheesecake. Garnish with chocolate leaves, if desired.
10 to 12 servings.
6 1 ounce squares semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine chocolate and butter in top of double boiler; cook until melted. Remove
from heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth. Spread over
cheesecake while glaze is warm.
Makes enough for one 9 inch cheesecake.
Written by Mary Ellen at
That's My Home