Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New York Cheesecake

Remember how the Super Bowl happened over a month ago? Yeah, it was boring, but I made stuff for it. And then fell down the blogging hole and forgot to do anything about it at all. I’ve got posts for this and posts for other things to and I really will try to not be such a bad blogger. Really.

This was a cheesecake of disasters that managed to turn out really lovely. I forgot a block of the cream cheese, overbaked the crust, used the wrong size pan, and my stand mixer broke. Don’t worry, it was a 10 year old refurbished model, my whisk was bent, and my paddle was starting to go. So this whole thing was done with a hand mixer, my (clean) hands, and some determination. I’m sure under better circumstances this wonderful cheesecake would be even better. I’m listing the full, proper recipe below. In the future, I’m going to try this again. The cherry topping alone is worth it.

New York Cheesecake from Smitten Kitchen:

Serves many

Crumb crust
8 oz. (15 4 3/4 x 2 1/2-inch sheets of graham cracker) finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers
8 Tb. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt

Very tall cheesecake filling:
5 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1¾ c. sugar
3 Tb. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla

Cherry topping
10 oz. sweet or sour cherries, pitted (frozen is fine out of season)
2 Tb. lemon juice
¼ c. sugar
1 Tb. cornstarch
½ c. water

To make the crumb crust, stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides, stopping one inch shy of the top rim, of a buttered 9½” springform pan.  A larger pan, obviously, makes for a flatter cheesecake. So does forgetting one of the cream cheese blocks.

Preheat oven to 550 degrees. To make the filling, beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and baking in baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. Please watch your cake because some ovens will top-brown very quickly and if yours does too fast, turn the oven down as soon as you catch it. Mine sort of did. This was a complicated section. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about one hour more. Watch it doesn’t overbrown or the crust doesn’t start to burn.

Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.

To make the cherry topping place all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional one to two minutes then remove from heat. Cool completely.
Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. If you had any wonky baking issues (yo), you might need to trim the cake flat. The next day I trimmed the edges and the burnt part of the crust. And then I snacked on a lot of it. There was easy to get to cheesecake!

Spread topping over chilled cheesecake. I kept this in the fridge for a few hours before Super Bowl. With a variety of desserts, it still was very popular. And very, very good.

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