The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I recently decided to join both the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks, located over at The Daring Kitchen. I thought joining would force me to continue to push myself in the kitchen, both in baking and cooking, once Husband moves away and I will become far more likely to revert to easy salads and bowls of cereal for dinner every night. It’s not that I don’t like to cook – it’s just that I don’t like to cook when I get home from a long day in the lab. If it’s only myself that I have to worry about, then frankly, I don’t care, and I’m perfectly content with a bowl of Cheerios or a steamed handful of green beans and calling it a day. But since I’ve had Husband to cook for over the past 5+ years (yes, even as undergrads, living in our separate dorm buildings, I still cooked dinner for him every single night), I feel responsible for serving complete, homemade meals. But once he moves away and it’s just me? It’s all about the easy way out.
Just as a word of note, both the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks have specific reveal days (27th of the month for the bakers, 14th for the cooks), so rather than only on weekends, there will now be some weekday recipes sneaking in instead.
I have to confess that I was totally disappointed to discover that the first Bakers' Challenge recipe in which I would be participating was a cheesecake. I’ve never baked a cheesecake in a water bath before, so the challenge did serve the purpose of expanding my baking skills, but personally, I loathe cheesecake and find it to be an absolutely repulsive waste of perfectly good cream cheese. While Husband would be happy to eat an entire cheesecake on his own, he certainly doesn’t NEED it, so I adapted the recipe to make it Kosher for Passover, and served it as one of the desserts at the Passover Seder I hosted earlier in the month.
The original plain recipe can be found at Jenny Bakes; we were given the “freedom” to spice up the recipe as desired so I went for a chocolate swirl cheesecake and listed below are the modifications for the cheesecake that I made. Using a water bath, rather than dry baking, definitely prevented the cheesecake from cracking and created a far creamier cheesecake than I’ve made in the past. It was SUPER rich – in fact, despite everyone gorging themselves on cheesecake at the Seder, Husband was still eating leftover cheesecake for a week (and couldn’t have been happier!).
- 1 can chocolate Kosher for Passover macaroons
- 3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
- Preheat oven to 350F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
- Grind contents of can of macaroons in food processor. Press crumbs into bottom of 9” springform pan. Set crust aside.
- Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl between the addition of each egg. Add cream, vanilla, and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Remove one-third to one-half of the batter into a separate bowl and stir in melted chocolate.
- Pour vanilla batter into prepared crust. Drop chocolate batter by spoonful into the vanilla batter and swirl with a knife into the vanilla. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Wrap the springform pan first with three layers of saran wrap, followed by three layers of aluminum foil (ensure that all saran wrap is covered by aluminum foil; layer of foil will prevent saran wrap from melting in the oven).
- Place springform into a large roasting pan and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until almost done – the sides of the cheesecake should hold together, but the center should still have significant jiggle. Close the oven door, turn off the heat, and let rest in the cooling oven for 1 hour. This allows the cake to finish cooking and cool down gently enough to prevent cracks at the top. After one hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and lift carefully out of the water bath. Let the cheesecake finish cooling on the counter and then cover and finish chilling in the refrigerator.