The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. I am forever saying..."I've always wanted to try that." I say it a lot..a whole lot. Ask Randy... It's my standard excuse when I want to mess up the kitchen. So the Daring Baker Challenge sounded like something right up my alley. Once a month a recipe challenge is posted. I've seen them do some pretty complicated stuff. Luckily for me the first challenge was actually something I've made before *Whew* Wouldn't want to flub on my first try! A very delicious Cheesecake recipe was chosen by Jenny of Jenny Bakes. There are plenty of cheesecake recipes out there, but this one is surely a keeper. Jenny was pretty clear that we could play with the recipe a bit to make it our own. I didn't monkey with it too much, but did make some necessary changes. Necessary because there is no way I was going to have a whole giant cheesecake in the house with just the two of us. Doesn't Jenny know I'm trying to lose weight? :-) To remedy this whole cheesecake dilemma, I made little cheesecakettes. And I only made 1/3 of the recipe, which made 10 muffin sized cheesecakes. Here is the recipe as Jenny presented it. My changes follow.
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.Suzy's Changes: I only had reduced fat cream cheese on hand and that performed beautifully. I had no liquor I wanted to use in the recipe so in half I added almond extract to one half and the other half got rum extract . Those with rum got a chocolate graham cracker crust with almond meal added. The rest were regular graham cracker crust but had pecans added to the mixture.
I thought the rum flavored ones tasted just like the Rum balls my Mom used to make at Christmas time. So let's call this one Rum Ball Cheesecake. The design was done with chocolate syrup.
For the rest of the cheesecakettes, I made a blackberry syrup using blackberries I picked and froze last summer. Mmmmmmm..these were my favorite.
So that was fun..my first Daring Baker challenge. So much fun I'm going to be doing a Daring Cooker challenge too!
With spring in full force I would feel remiss if I didn't include just a little bit of bouquet in this post.