It's finally my turn to choose this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe and I was shocked how hard it was to decide! First, I felt I could not choose a chocolate recipe for the sake of my husband, which narrowed down the field. Then, I wanted something wonderful and worthy of the holidays.
When I flipped the page to the Tall and Creamy Cheesecake I knew I'd found my selection. Dorie posted about this cheesecake back in April and I've been pining over it ever since. Highly customizable, this cheesecake is flavorful, beautiful, and not too heavy. I'm dying to see everyone's variations and will post my own (Peppermint Bark) below Dorie's recipe. Inspired by a recent visit to The Cheesecake Factory, I divided the batter into thirds and flavored one-third with white chocolate and the other two-thirds with peppermint extract. I swirled in Andes Mint peppermint chips after marbling the two batters together. I also added a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to the crust for color (haha). I figured my husband could eat around that!
Cute baby Marcus was the star of the show on Saturday but didn't get to try any! I served this cheesecake at a baby shower for my old friend Alyson and it was delicious (though it would have been better blue than pink!) My favorite thing about it is the great flavor without the heavy heavy texture. While prepping for the party, I realized that I'd left my camera at home. Pardon the purse camera pictures, but thanks to my mom for letting me borrow her cute little point and shoot (which happens to be the same color as the cheesecake!)
We moved into our house on Christmas Eve (like crazy people) and are without internet. More importantly, we are without kitchen! The cabinets missed the train by one day and with the holidays that meant an extra two weeks. My husband was too anxious to finally live in his Christmas present, the biggest of his life, so we are sans internet, sans kitchen, and even sans kitchen sink! Thankfully our parents are close by so I'll be stealing computer and oven time around there until we are all set up. Have a happy new year and I'll be back with York Peppermint Patty Chocolate cookies (you can see them peaking in from one of the corners of the demolished cheesecake picture).
I've taken the recipe from Serious Eats where you can hear more about it.
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: A Basic
makes 16 servings
From Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
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
To make the crust:
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 bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.
Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) 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.
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:
Put a kettle of water on to boil.
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.
Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
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.
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.
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.
When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.
Remove the sides of the springform pan— I use a hairdryer to do this (use the dryer to warm the sides of the pan and ever so slightly melt the edges of the cake)—and set the cake, still on the pan's base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.
Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It's best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.
Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
from Anne Strawberry
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
5 drops red food coloring
3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup Andes Peppermint chips
4 ounces Peppermint Bark, broken into large pieces
Prepare crust as directed and stir in cocoa powder. Bake as directed.
Prepare cheesecake batter as above and divide into thirds. Into one third, stir in white chocolate. Set aside.
In other two thirds, stir in peppermint extract (to taste) and add food coloring to achieve desired color.
Pour in pink batter, spoon over white batter, sprinkle with peppermint chips, and swirl together to form a marble pattern.
Bake and cool as directed and top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and peppermint bark. Enjoy!