Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daring Bakers 7: Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I am not new to baking cheesecake, however, I was excited to see that it was chosen for April's Daring Bakers challenge. I am always on the hunt for the perfect cheesecake, mainly because I don't seem to ever like any I taste. S on the other hand, thinks that cheesecake is the bee's knees. He ranks it in his top 5 favourite desserts of all time (yes, he has a top 5). And it can't be just any cheesecake, it has to be baked. I really dislike baked cheesecakes in particular as they often get that chalky, mouth coating thickness about them. The trick is to only just bake it- it should still wobble when jiggled. Believe me, it will set up nicely once cooled.

We were given quite a bit of freedom for this challenge so I opted for a chocolate Oreo base, a lemon flavoured cheesecake, topped with a lightly gelatin set lemon cream glaze. Oh my god. This cheesecake was amazing. AMAZING. This is coming from she who would rather pass on dessert than eat a cheesecake. I actually feel quite ripped off; where has this cheesecake been all my life? Needless to say, S is over the moon that I too have embraced cheesecake now.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

Oreo Crust

1 1/2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs (about 25 Oreo cookies, cream removed and finely chopped)
2 tablespoon melted butter


3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

Lemon Cream Glaze

1 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (21 tablespoons; 10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces

2 gelatin sheets for half of the lemon cream mixture

Lemon Cream Method

Getting ready: Have a thermometer, preferably an instant-read, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at the ready. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

1. Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into the pan of simmering water. Off heat, work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice.

2. Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. You want to cook the cream until it reaches 180°F. As you whisk the cream over heat—and you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as the cream is getting closer to 180°F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

3. As soon as you reach 180°F, pull the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of a blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140°F, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 5 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

5. Split the lemon cream mixture in two. Add the softened gelatin sheets to one half, and keep the other half for another recipe.

Cheesecake Method

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 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.

6. When the cheesecake is room temperature, pour the lemon cream glaze over the top. Refrigerate until set. It is best to serve this cheesecake at room temperature, not straight out of the fridge.


Steven said...


Cakelaw said...

Delish - gotta love a lemon cheesecake with a lemon cream glaze.

Anonymous said...

Great job Bria! I love the top layer too! :D

vibi said...

Hooo! ohhhh! lemon cream topping? Wait... I didn't get a piiiiiiiiece!!!

Humpf... how I wish.

Beautiful, mouthwatering, decadent yet, inaccessible... lol

Anonymous said...

Your cheesecake sounds wonderful. I love it!

Bria said...

Thanks everyone. It really was delicious with the lemon cream!

TeaLady said...

Lemon and chocolate. That sounds wonderful. Must try this one. Great job.

cathy said...

i've actually never made cheesecake, but now i'm inspired!

Jenny said...

Aw, I love that you were converted over to cheesecake from this challenge. It looks perfect - tall and creamy! Sorry I am late in getting to your post. I'm determined to visit each of the 1k+ Daring Bakers who did this challenge. Thanks for being a part of it!

Jenny of JennyBakes