Sunday, April 12, 2009


Originally uploaded by IowaSunshine
I made this for Easter and it was a hit. I bought a pamphlet on cheesecakes a little while ago and after reading, rereading and rereading the pamphlet again I changed the instructions to better suit my baking needs. And, don't be scared about making cheesecake. I was, but I am not anymore! Just go for it. What's the worst that could happen?!

Crust ingredients:
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 c melted butter

Crush graham crackers, place them in a food processor and pulse until the crackers are a fine crumb. You should have 2 cups of crumbs when you are done. Add the melted butter and mix by hand until your crumbs are moist and will hold shapes if pressed together. Note: They should be fairly damp.

Cut out circle out of parchment paper that will fit the bottom of your springform pan, but DO NOT grease the pan. Don't fret if the parchment doesn't fit perfectly around the pan--mine certainly didn't. Pat the graham cracker mix on top of the paper in a flat, yet firm layer. Back at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Don't worry if it's not browning, because it's better to under cook the crust since it will go back in the oven. Take out of oven and cool on a wire rack and turn up the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees.

After taking out the crust, you may begin the actual cheesecake. The reason you should wait until the crust is out is because you want the springform pan to be room temperature when you place the filling in it.

3 8-oz packages of regular cream cheese--warmed to room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
1/4 c. milk

All ingredients should be at room temperature to ensure that your mixture is creamed properly. First, I creamed the cream cheese on medium to high for about 2-3 minutes until smooth, then added 1 c. of sugar and mixed on medium for another 2-3 minutes, so that it was very smooth and creamy. During the aforementioned processes you will need to stop and scrape down the bowl 2-4 times. And, if you need to go longer than the 6 minutes I have listed here, that's not an issue. You need this mixture to be smooth!

Add flour and vanilla and mix on low for 1-2 minutes, or until they are incorporated. Then, mix in the eggs and yolk on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the bowl when needed. There should be no lumps, bumps or streaks in your mixture. On low speed add the milk until incorporated. Note: It will look like vanilla pudding at this point.

If your springform pan is cool by this point, pour the mixture into the pan. Then prepare the water bath. Otherwise, wait until the pan is cool.

Water Bath:
1 edged cookie or baking sheet that your springform pan will fit on
2 pieces of aluminum foil to wrap around your springform pan

Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with 1-2 sheets of foil, so that water will not get up into the locked pan, but do not cover any part of the top of the pan. Place the springform pan in the cookie sheet and add 2-4 cups of lukewarm water.

CAREFULLY place in 375 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes check your cheesecake. If the entire surface is matte (no longer shiny) and only slightly jiggles in the middle while the edges are set, it is done. It may also lightly brown. If it is lightly browning--it is done--you don't want to leave it in longer as it may burn! If the surface is shiny and is very jiggly, the cheesecake is not done and you will need to bake it longer. Start with 5 minutes and check it again. Total baking time may take around 1 hour.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on a wire rack. It's ok to leave the water bath in the oven until you can safely remove it later (but don't forget it for two days like I did). Remove the foil as soon as you can safely touch it.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

THIS IS VERY RICH! We liked it, but realized that it is only a dessert to be had on holidays, otherwise we'd all be put onto even more strict diets than what we're already on!

And, I won't lie. I was so afraid this was going to flop, because I had never made cheesecake before and was scared I would miss a step. If you are scared like I was, don't be. Instead, just take that leap and you'll soon find you're soaring into success.

If you think I've missed a step, or would like more information, please let me know!

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