Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite treats. I loved it enough to have it as my wedding cake. It was ridiculous to pay that much for a wedding cake for only a small number of people but hell, I am planning on sticking with the one I picked!
Cheesecake falls into two worlds, French style and New York style. Simply put, french style is more pudding and creamy like while NY style is way better. Okay, not the real story but NY style is much more firm and dense. The Tuesday’s with Doriegroup is baking their way through the Dorie Greenspan book one Tuesday at a time. I have been watching the group from afar so when I found the regularly priced $45 book at TJ Maxx for $10 I grabbed it and ran like a demon. That crazy TJ Maxx had no idea that even Amazon.com was selling it for four times that price. The book is a bit more than just a cookbook. Dorie gives variations of almost every recipe and also tells stories about a lot of her recipes and how they came to life. I have spent hours pouring over the recipes and stories deciding which one would be my first test. If you don’t know who Dorie is, just imagine being good enough to work with some of the legends of the cooking world and there you have it, Dorie Greenspan.
This cheesecake recipe is relatively simple in ingredients, but does require a few extra steps to make the recipe like boiling water for the hot water bath and allowing the cheesecake to set for a hour in the oven after baking. I was nervous the cheesecake would be underdone since it was very white on top after baking. Then I was nervous that the cheesecake would overbake since it sat in the oven that extra hour. Now I realize that Dorie has worked with people like Julia Child for a reason, she knows what the heck she is doing.
The recipe turns out gorgeously. Perfectly creamy and thick. Rich enough to make you only need a small slice. Perfect with a berry glaze on top. I also melted some chocolate chips with a tablespoon of peanut butter for a different take on the same cheesecake. I rarely top the cheesecake with anything immediately after baking since everyone has their own preference. I like to be able to choose my topping!
My instructions for a berry glaze follow the recipe.
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: From Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan16 servings Ingredients
For the crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two Directions
To make the crust: 1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet. 2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. 3.Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. To make the cheesecake:
1. Put a kettle or large pot of water on to boil. 2. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream. 3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan. 4. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. 5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour. 6. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack. 7. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight is best. Berry Puree Ingredients 3-4 cups frozen berries water 1/4 cup sugar 1-2 tbsp cornstarch 1/4 cup water Directions Most berries have about two million seeds but making a puree is relatively easy. 1. To make a berry glaze puree frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc…) with a bit of water until smooth. 2. Strain with a cheesecloth into small saucepan. 3. Add sugar to berries. It will depend on your berry, so be sure to taste test. 4. Bring berry mixture to a boil. 5. Mix cornstarch with water and slowly add to berry puree while whisking. The cornstarch will thicken the berry mixture almost immediately, so only add cornstarch until it is desired thickness. Allow to cool and pour over individual slices of cheesecake.