Monday, April 27, 2009

CHEESECAKE CENTERPIECE



The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I have made many cheesecakes in my lifetime and to be perfectly honest cheesecake is not one of my favorite desserts. If you like cheesecake this is a nice and easy recipe.

I substituted ginger cookies for the graham crackers in the original recipe because I love lemon and ginger together. I followed the recipe for the cheesecake to the letter. I put meyer lemon juice in the cheesecake and meyer lemon curd on top with a border of whipped cream. The flowers on top are rice paper flowers, I have described how to make them here.


Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

CRUST:
2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (I used gingersnap cookies)
4 Ounces Butter, melted
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

CHEESECAKE:
24 Ounces Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 Cup Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 Tablespoon Liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 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. Bake the crust for 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If any butter seeps to the top of the crust, blot it dry. 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 two layers of 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.

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!

LEMON CURD
Yield 1 Quart
INGREDIENTS
6 Eggs
6 Yolks
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Meyer Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Meyer Lemon Zest (use Microplane)
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
4 Ounces Butter (room temperature soft and cut into 1 inch pieces)
METHOD
1. Whisk the eggs and yolks together. Add all the ingredients except the butter. Whisk over a double boiler constantly until the mixture reaches 180 degrees F.
2. Strain through a chiniox into another bowl set over an ice bath.
3. Stirring occasionally let cool to 100 degrees F..
4. With the immersion blender slowly blend in the butter piece by piece until it is completely incorporated.
5. Cover and put in the refrigerator.
The next day remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Spread the lemon curd over the top of the cheesecake. Pipe a border of sweetened whipped cream, decorate and serve.

8 comments:

Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar said...

What a pretty cheesecake! With the flowers it looks like a spring garden :)

There's a reason that lemon and ginger is a classic: it tastes great, and I'm certain that your cheesecake was absolutely wonderful, Sugar Chef!

Y said...

Ahhh so pretty! I really love your rice paper flowers!

Li said...

Hi Pam,
the cake looks great. I like how you have made a swirl pattern with the lemon curd on top.

Lisa said...

You are an artiste of the highest pastry order! That cheesecake not only sounds delicious, but looks like a burst of Spring with those incredibly gorgeous and creative rice paper flowers! Beautiful job!

ice tea: sugar high said...

Those rice paper flowers are just the prettiest thing ever! well done on the challenge

Jenny said...

I agree - ginger and lemon are a great combo. And your flowers make this a truly beautiful centerpiece. Thanks for being a part of this challenge!

Jenny of JennyBakes

mary said...

Lemon and ginger sounds like a great combination. Your presentation is beautiful. I love the way you swirled the curd on top. Definitely looks like spring!

montreal florist said...

It's special flowers in the cakes. Pretty flowers!!