I admit my defeat. I finally caved in to these cheesecakes. I never used to like cheesecakes. The texture, the sligtly tangy and sweet taste just never work for me. Especially that stuck-in-your-throat feeling you get everytime you eat a spoonful. Bleh! The one and only time I ever made a cheesecake, a baked one I might add was for my boss's birthday and I still wasn't sold by this dessert. However, I think I might just found a recipe that could change my skepticism.The recipe that is this month's Daring Bakers challenge was soooo creamy and the texture was so soft (soft enough for me to wreck one when I tried to unmold it). Not the easiest or simplest recipe I'm afraid. The baking time plus resting time, and the water bath makes this recipe quite challenging (coming from a girl who burnt herself in too many occasion from trying to remove the heavy water-bath-filled pan). But this water bath is the key to achieve it's creamy texture.
We were given total freedom to change the recipe this month. In fact, that is part of the challenge, creating different flavour combination or ways to serve the cheesecake. Me being the indecisive that I am, of course couldn't decide on one flavour, so instead, I did it three ways. The three most favourite ways of how I do dessert. Fruity, chocolatey and not forget the very best, cookies and creme. You can say that my love of desserts are summed up in this three cakelets. Eventhough I adore figs, but this is not actually my first preference, but my all time favourite, the berries and cherries are long gone since we are well in the winter season now here in downunder. And figs seems to be at it's top of the season, so I paired it with a lovely bush honey for my fruity cheesecake.
Before I forget, this is the official blurb that needs to be posted:
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecakeletes:
(2/3 of recipe) I use three ramekin dishes
crust for the honey and marble cheesecakelets:
120 g graham cracker crumbs
74g butter, melted
16g caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
60 g Oreo biscuit, set aside the white parts for the cheesecake
37g butter, melted
8g caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
450g cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
Honey & Fig:
25g bush honey
3-5 dried figs
50g caster sugar
Cookies & Cream:
white cream leftovers from crust
3-4 oreo biscuits, roughly crushed into big chunks
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). 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. 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 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.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.