Hola! As promised, I'll be sharing the cheesecake recipe I was going to share last week! The last time I baked a cheesecake (my very first time also!) I messed up the photos between getting a bunch of things ready for a surprise dinner party for my husband's birthday, so I decided to give myself a short break from eating cakes and breads for a couple of weeks before trying it out once more. It was even a mess trying to figure out my scribbles from that day I worked out the recipe, since I usually write it down using an ipad app and not on paper.
But here it is, a yummy and fairly easy recipe for cheesecake. I'll add tips for the baking process now that I almost ruined one and learned from that!
For a 9.5 inch pan
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about: 16 whole cookies; 250g; 9oz)
- 5 tbsp melted butter
- Optional: 1 tbsp sugar and a pinch of salt
Everything must be at room temperature
- 3 packs cream cheese (8oz each)
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cup sugar (if you want a super white cheesecake, use mostly white sugar. I used a combo of white, brown and honey)
- 1/4 tbsp corn starch (this is optional, but if you have are a newbie like me it sets easier with this)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
1. Make the graham cracker crumbs using a food processor or place them inside a ziplock bag and mash them with a rolling pin. Combine with melted butter and if you like it a bit sweeter, add some sugar and a pinch of salt. I skipped the sugar since I really like the regular cracker flavor.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
3. The crumbs should clump when pressed together (if not, you can add a bit of water or an extra tbsp of butter). Add them to the base of your springform pan carefully clumping them together to form the crust. You can use the base of a glass or a measuring cup to get an even surface.
4. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned and it becomes dryer.
5. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (170°C).
6. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and add sugar, corn starch, vanilla extract and salt. Keep beating and add the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, lemon and lemon zest and mix together until you get a smooth silky mixture. If you have some cream cheese lumps don't worry about those.
7. Use aluminium foil to cover the base of the springform pan, wrap it carefully and with a double coating if necessary so water won't seep in during the water bath.
8. Add the cheese mixture to the mold and place it on a slightly deep cookie sheet or baking recipient that can fit your springform pan and can hold some water in.
9. Pour some hot water to cover at least 1 1/2 inches of the base of your springform pan. The water bath will bake the cheesecake gently and avoid a burned and/or cracked top.
10. Bake for about an hour. I recommend carefully peeking after 40 minutes to see if the top is a bit brown, just don't open the whole oven or cracks are likely to form on the cheesecake. The sides should be set (and slightly browned) and the center jiggly.
11. When you reach that point, turn off the oven and use a wooden spoon or whatever you have in hand and use it to leave the oven door slightly open. Let the cheesecake rest inside while the oven cools for about an hour. It will continue to set while in there.
12. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, water bath and aluminium foil and let it rest for a little bit in the counter. You can run a spatula or knife around the edges, very carefully, so it won't crack as it shrinks a bit while cooling.
13. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. This is not optional, it won't set properly and will break apart if you unmold it before letting cool in the fridge. Don't cover the cheesecake while in the fridge or it might get soggy from condensation.
14. Now that it's chilled, run a knife around it once again and remove the springform pan carefully. You can use some jelly or fresh fruit to top the cheesecake.
For the topping of one of my mini cheesecakes, I made a tiny batch of lemon curd since I had some fresh lemons left: 1 egg, 1/3 cup white sugar and the juice and zest from 1 lemon. All of these over a hot water bath (bain marie) until it thickens, and then mix in 1 1/2 tbsp butter. I wasn't entirely happy with the taste (it was okay, but nothing beyond that!), but at least this time I got the look right. I learned not to use brown sugar unless you want a lemon curd that looks like gravy, even if it tasted better than this batch though. I need to keep experimenting with ratios and ingredients to get a nice recipe for lemon curd! The other cheesecake will be topped with blueberry jelly.
I know there's A BUNCH of steps to make a cheesecake, and it does take a bit of practice to make it perfect (I still can't get that flawless white surface, but my second cheesecake came out a lot better than the first one). But at least, flavor-wise, you can hardly go wrong. Reminds me of the time I couldn't make a flan to set and just ended up with a pudding-like thing, which was still yummy and we enjoyed by spoonfuls anyway. So just go ahead and bake with care and a dash of love, that'll make any recipe work out!