The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
We were supposed to use Abbey's Cheesecake recipe as a base and tweak it to be whatever we want. Ever since i tried the Key Lime truffle from See's candies, i've been dying to try to make it into a white chocolate lime cheesecake so this was my chance. I've also been toying with the idea of making a chai cheesecake since theres this delicious mix that the coffee shop i work in used to have. I decided to make the full recipe and split it in half so i could make both the chai cheesecake and white chocolate lime cheesecake. I borrowed four mini springform pans from a friend- each were about 4 inches across. it turns out that the recipe filled all four, plus one more and 3 cupcake papers. First of all, this is probably the BEST CHEESECAKE RECIPE EVER. I've made a number of cheesecakes in the past since i used to have a roomate who literally just bought me the ingredients to make it for her, and i don't think ive ever come across such a decadent, dreamy, creamy cheesecake! I used cinnamon graham crackers for the crust of the chai cheesecake and vanilla cookies for the white chocolate lime one.
The way i split the batter into two flavors was by doing the following: After mixing the cream cheese, sugar and eggs, i split the batter in half. I then split the whipping cream in half and used that to do the separate flavorings. I warmed 1/2 a cup of the whipping cream and dissolved 3 packets of oregan chai vanilla chai mix into it- the powdered packets. I mixed that with 1/2 of the rest of the set aside cream cheese/sugar/egg batter and poured it all into 3 of the mini springform pans. with the other 1/2 cup of whipping cream i put it in the microwave with about 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips for about 30 seconds. I stirred it until it was smooth and added about 3 tablespoons of lime juice. I then mixed that into the other half of the cream cheese/sugar/egg batter and poured that into the rest of the pans. The green swirl was made by taking out a small bit of batter, dying it green, dropping blobs of it ontop of the cheesecake and swirling with a toothpick.
I hope that explaination wasn't too confusing! Anyway this is the besssttt cheesecake recipe and a fantastic base recipe to play with. try it!
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!