Chantal’s New York Cheesecake

I absolutely love baking.  Mostly because it means I’ll have something in the house to keep my sweet tooth at bay.  There is something about the anticipation that is involved in baking.  There is no interaction necessary like there is in cooking.  Almost like raising children.  You spend so much time and care in the preparation then send it in for a trial by fire.  Some things come out amazing, some things come out tasting much better than they look, and some things you’d rather look at as it rests in your trash bin.

My beautiful, cracked cheesecake. 😦

I spent this Christmas with the boyfriend’s family since I had just returned from Europe visiting him and the east coast visiting my family.  I was broke and pretty much alone in Texas.  So what does a broke person bring to a Christmas party?  Uhh… baked goods, of course!  It didn’t crack that time… but it did this time.

My go-to recipe for Cheesecake-y goodness is from allrecipes.com.  It is a simple, New York style cheesecake.

Ingredients

  • 15 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

 Deceptively simple, my friends.  Here are the things I’ve encountered.  (And from the comments on the recipe, I must be an idiot for messing this up.)

*  If you use all of the graham crackers she tells you to, the crust comes out EXTREMELY thick.  This time I cut down the number of graham crackers to eight, which was not enough.  So, between 8 and 15 is going to be your happy number.

*She calls for two tablespoons of melted butter.  This poses two issues for me.  One is, I don’t own a microwave.  So butter is melted in the preheating oven.  This takes about 15 minutes for those of you curious.  My second issue is this is this small amount of butter still leaves your crust still…. well… crushed graham crackers.  It will press, but when you pour your cheesecake into the pan, it won’t stick to itself.  Two and a half wasn’t enough either.

*Water baths… are not optional.  Many sites give you pointers on water baths.  My pan doesn’t leak, so I have never had to do the foil wrap… but I can see where it would be helpful. 

*Your batter will not be smooth.  I stirred… and stirred… and stirred…. which also (I have learned) contributes to cracking.  Deal with lumpy batter.  as long as everything is mixed in you will be fine. 

The cool thing about cheesecake is even if it cracks, it still tastes good. 🙂

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