Help: Cheesecake Hints and Tips
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- 1½ cups Graham Cracker crumbs (about 11 full graham cracker sheets)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups sour cream, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (about 1 pound) fresh ripe strawberries.
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Stir until thoroughly mixed and mixture is crumbly.
- Bake: Pour the graham cracker crumb mixture into the springform pan. Using the back of a large spoon or the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
- When cooled, wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil to prepare for the bain marie water bath. The foil is to prevent any water from seeping into the cheesecake through the pan seams.
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar; mix on medium low speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly and there are no lumps.
- Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla; continue beating on medium low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the egg yolks; beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add the eggs 2 at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl between additions. Tip: crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the cheese mixture. Tip: Do not overbeat the cheesecake batter. Blend the ingredients quickly to add as few air bubbles as possible. The ingredients must be well blended, but excessive beating creates too many air pockets which can cause the cheesecake to puff up too much during baking, and then crack during the cooling process.
- Let the filling rest about 5 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil to use for the bain marie water bath.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the graham cracker crust.
- Bake: Set the foil wrapped springform pan in a larger pan or roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan, and close the oven door. Bake 60 to 80 minutes. Tip: The Cheesecake is done when the edges are set but the center 2 to 3 inches are still a pool of liquid batter. The cake should look as though it has puffed a little and just barely beginning to brown. The center will still be soft and jiggly when the pan is lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon.
- Remove from oven, place springform pan on a wire cooling rack to cool. Immediately run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. This allows the cake to contract away from the sides of the pan as it cools, helping to prevent cracks.
- Add the sour cream topping after the cheesecake has been removed from the oven and cooled for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Spread it evenly over the surface of the cheesecake.
- Bake: Return cheesecake to the oven, Bake for 5 minutes to set the topping. Remove from oven, and place on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
- When cheesecake is completely cooled, cover the pan and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving. Try to avoid having the covering touch the top of the cheesecake as this may mar the surface.
- Rinse, dry, and hull the strawberries. Slice each strawberry lengthwise about ¼ inch thick. Combine the strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl and let sit about 30 minutes to macerate.
- Place the strawberry jam in a microwave-safe bowl, heat using 50% power and stir frequently just until the jam is warmed and melted. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour the warm jam over the strawberries and stir to combine.
- Let sit until cooled to room temperature, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, spoon a portion of strawberry topping over individual slices of cheesecake.
Mushet, Cindy and Sur La Table, The Art & Soul of Baking, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Missouri, 2008
Sax, Richard, Classic Home Desserts, Chapters Publishing Ltd, Vermont, 1994
Walter, Carole, Great Cakes, Random House, New York, 1991
Williams Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, Welden Owen Inc, California, 2003