Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:17 pm

The dessert for this big dinner I'm helping with on Friday is going to be a composed plate consisting of: apricot cheesecake, hazelnut krumkakke, and chocolate-orange truffle. Krumkakke is a Norwegian cooking baked on a flatiron device specially for them and then rolled into a cornet, or cone shape. A sprinkle of candied sliced almonds will be added as a garnish and give the plate additional texture both visually and taste-wise. This will be served with 1996 Chateau Guirard Sauternes.

So that's the concept. And once that was nailed in place I gave it no further thought until this morning when I started searching for recipes.

Well, F word. There are a million ways to approach this. And I'm not a baker. I'm great on the savoury side of things but on sweets? Not so much. Unfortunately the guy who is and who would have had this task firmly in hand ended up with the final on his garde manger class delayed one week because a week of school was cancelled because of last month's snow storm, so I have the task instead and I'm not enjoying it one bit.

And my lack of sweet tooth makes me almost unqualified to make the choice. That's why I need your help, gang.

#1: pan/shape. I have read many times of cheesecakes baked in sheet pans. Thinking squares would be easier to cut and plate (60 servings is what I need), I had blithely decided this is how these cheesecakes would be done and gave it no further thought. Until this morning. Well, not so fast, Twinkle Tits: probably works well for unbaked cheesecakes but for baked style? I'm not sure. And that brings us to dilemna No. 2:

#2: baked or refrigerated? As all of you probably know, a refrigerated cheesecake is eggless and uses gelatin and whipped cream to lighten and set the cream cheese. Go google "apricot cheesecake" and just about every recipe offered you will be a no-bake style. Easy as that sounds, and therefore appealing to someone with no time to spare in the next 72 hours, I just don't like the sound of it. Everything that people I know who are mad about cheesecake like about cheesecake is in the baked version. Unbaked sounds just a little too close to Aunt Emma's lime parfait jello salad.

Now, there's no problem customizing a baked style cheesecake into an apricot version. I can do that--chop up some dried apricots, throw them in, we're there. Then the question begs, top it? Top it and torch it?

Or wait, what if I made a plain New York style round cheesecake and spooned an apricot sauce over the individual wedges at point of service? Mentally, that's appealing, because I think the slices would be cleaner. The sauce would possibly be more attractive than the topped cheesecake, and I also kind of like the idea of something wet and oozing on the plate. It changes the strict geometry of triangle/triangle/round that I was trying to get away from (with the sheet pan idea). And I tend to think sauces look more opulent and giving. Maybe not plain apricot, but apricot-pineapple? Apricot-pineapple diluted/spiked with a little Calvados maybe?

Okay, I'm talking myself into it. Round, plain New York, apricot-pineapple-brandy sauce. Do I hear any nays? Does someone want to stop me before I ruin it?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Cynthia Wenslow

Rank

Pizza Princess

Posts

5788

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:32 pm

Location

The Third Coast

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Cynthia Wenslow » Wed Dec 13, 2006 5:36 pm

I make and love cheesecake, and you are correct, most people who fancy cheesecake will want the baked version.

I think I would just do an apricot/brandy sauce though and skip the pineapple because of the chocolate/orange truffle on the same plate. More harmonious flavors, IMO. I've never been a fan of chocolate with pineapple.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:15 pm

Cynthia, good advice. I was trying to appeal to all the flavors in the sauternes, but I might be overreaching. And thanks for the confirmation on baked vs. unbaked--I thought so, but really wasn't sure. And of course, unbaked would be easier so I wanted it to be otherwise. :) Can't blame a girl for trying!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:23 pm

Oh, new question:

What crust to cheesecake lovers typically like best? Graham cracker? Shortbread? Other?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Cynthia Wenslow

Rank

Pizza Princess

Posts

5788

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:32 pm

Location

The Third Coast

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Cynthia Wenslow » Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:35 pm

I think most people generally expect a graham cracker type crust. Somewhere at home though, I have the recipe for one made with hazelnuts that might be killer with the rest of your desserts. I'll look for it when I get home if you are interested in seeing it.
User avatar
User

Cynthia Wenslow

Rank

Pizza Princess

Posts

5788

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:32 pm

Location

The Third Coast

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Cynthia Wenslow » Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:37 pm

Jenise wrote: And of course, unbaked would be easier so I wanted it to be otherwise. :) Can't blame a girl for trying!


I don't know, Jenise, I haven't noticed that you are one to take the easy way out. Ever!
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:02 pm

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:I don't know, Jenise, I haven't noticed that you are one to take the easy way out. Ever!


No, I'm not, but that doesn't stop me from wishing I could be sometimes.

Re the hazelnuts, thanks but you must have missed that we're already using hazelnuts in the krumkakke. Plain will work just fine. Graham cracker it is.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Barb Freda

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

415

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:04 am

Location

Weston, Florida

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Barb Freda » Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:41 pm

First: Twinle Tits? Did I read that right? I've got my contacts in and they aren't as great as glasses but...HAAAA! Good one, Jenise.

I empathize. I'm no baker, either. But I have to agree that cheesecake must be baked...What about an Italian one with a not sweet/not savory crust? And I'd experiment baking it in a sheet pan anyway...Your new version...cheesecake bites...Ooh, I know, isn't there a cheese cake out there that is made in mini cupcake cups? But I don't know if it's the baked variety...but you could knock out the amoun you need easily....Or forget the cups anyway and press crust into mini cupcake tins then bake mini cheesecakes.

Okay, that does it. I will just need to come out there and help.

b
User avatar
User

Cynthia Wenslow

Rank

Pizza Princess

Posts

5788

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:32 pm

Location

The Third Coast

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Cynthia Wenslow » Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:21 pm

Jenise wrote:Re the hazelnuts, thanks but you must have missed that we're already using hazelnuts in the krumkakke. Plain will work just fine. Graham cracker it is.


No, I did notice, that's why I suggested it. Thought it might tie the desserts together nicely.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:51 pm

Oops! Okay, well it would tie them together, you're right. But even if I wanted to do that, my bag of hazelnut meal is over at the house of the guy who's making the krumkakkes tonight and I just got home from the store. Trader Joe's now sells bags of nut meal--how handy is that? So I'm just home from the store where I bought graham crackers and some ginger snaps thinking the combo might hint of something exotic. It probably won't even show.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Robert J.

Rank

Cowboy

Posts

2926

Joined

Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:36 pm

Location

Coming to a store near you.

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Robert J. » Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:08 pm

Dear Twinkle Tits,

Quite some time ago I worked for a catering company. We did many, many large events. One of our most popular desserts was a selection of cheesecake bites. If I remember correctly, we just baked a cheesecake in a sheet pan (maybe half pan). Pat the crust in, pour the filling on top, and bake. Voila! Cheesecake bites. The time and temp were about the same for a regular cheesecake but I can't remember specifics.

Definitely bake the cake, use a graham crust, and follow Ms. Wenslow's lead with the apricot sauce. I would not try and infuse the cake with apricot. If you put chopped apricots in they may not stand out enough (but they may, my gut tells me otherwise, though).

Now that I am thinking about it, try a shortbread crust. I think that may work better with the apricot flavor.

Good luck,

Mr. Sparkle Balls
User avatar
User

MikeH

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1165

Joined

Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:07 am

Location

Cincinnati

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by MikeH » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:21 am

A quick answer regarding the crust. My wife makes a crust from chocolate wafers......yum!!! Same technique as graham crackers I believe just different raw material!
Cheers!
Mike
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:56 am

Okay, you cheesecake wiseguys.

My results were not as spectacular as hoped. Although one came out perfect, the other three experienced both cratering and a darker crust than desirable. This recipe (from Gourmet mag, on Epicurious.com) called for starting at 550 for 12 minutes then reducing to 200 for an hour. Vagaries of my 23 year old ovens aside, I have to admit to feeling uneasy about those temps before I started. I make savoury cheesecakes and usually start the oven around 450 and reduce it to 300 to finish. Perfect result every time. This time I followed their instructions and the result was--well, I'm going to make more cheesecakes tomorrow. These won't do. What's your baking regimen, Cynthia?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Cynthia Wenslow

Rank

Pizza Princess

Posts

5788

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:32 pm

Location

The Third Coast

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Cynthia Wenslow » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:03 am

I never change the baking temp. I either bake at 325 or 350 until a silver dollar sized spot in the center is almost done. It should still be soft and moist. It firms up as it cools.

I'm assuming you baked in a moist oven, yes?

And, obviously don't peek until it's almost done... usually somewhere around an hour if baked at 325, more like 40-45 minutes at 350.
no avatar
User

Eden B.

Rank

Wine geek

Posts

50

Joined

Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:35 pm

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Eden B. » Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:53 am

Hi Jenise,

Sorry to weigh in a little late here, but I just read your posts. Cheesecake is one of those things you just don't mess with, as you have already discovered, so baked is the way to go, preferably with a classic graham cracker crust. And if you are going to adulterate it, best to do a topping that cheescake purists can eat around, if need be.

Having said all that, now onto your recipe dilemma. Any chance you have access to back issues of Cooks Illustrated? The one truly foolproof and *proper* cheesecake recipe I have repeatedly and successfully used came from there a few years back. They actually had 3 versions - Light and Airy, Rich and Creamy, or Dense and Firm. A Jersey girl and NY cheesecake purist, myself, I prefer the rich and creamy /dense and firm varieties. If you do not have access and would like the recipe, please email me at ejb5@mindspring.com and I will look up the recipe for you this evening. If you need it sooner than that, go to http://cake.cooksillustrated.com/subsit ... %20recipes and scroll to whichever of the three varieties listed above you would prefer. (If you are not a member of the site, you can subscribe for a free trial membership to access these.)

Good luck!

Eden
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:17 pm

Eden and Cynthia: thank god you're out there!

Cynthia, no I didn't put a water bath in the oven--the directions didn't tell me to so I didn't think of it. I'm SO not a baker that I don't have very complete reflexes, I was just mechanically following instructions. Btw, I'm just anal enough, prior to following instructions, to make sure my instructions are good and compare a recipe like this with another to make sure that the proportion of ingredients are right. The first NY recipe I looked at was on Chefs.com, and it only called for 1/2 c of sugar. I knew that wasn't enough, and looking at other recipes confirmed it probably should have read 1 1/2" for that quantity of cheese. So I nixed it and used a recipe on epicurious that others posted rave reviews to. I didn't go so far as to compare techniques, though.

Eden, thanks for the tip. I'm going to go read those recipes!

And for both of your amusement, below is the recipe I used:

We find that different generations have different ideas about what a typical New York cheesecake is. To us, a New York cheesecake is high, firm, and dense, with a slightly lemony flavor. The Lindy's cheesecake in our January 1991 issue, adapted here for a simpler crust, is all of that. It's also a cake that keeps for up to two weeks and lends itself easily to flavor variations.

Active time: 45 min Start to finish:10 hr

click photo to enlarge
1 crumb-crust recipe, made with finely ground graham crackers
5 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla



Make crumb crust as directed in separate recipe. Preheat oven to 550°F.
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, and zests with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 12 minutes, or until puffed. Reduce temperature to 200°F and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour more.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Jim Cassidy

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1627

Joined

Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:00 pm

Location

Salt Lake City

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jim Cassidy » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:08 pm

Agree on baked - never had a no bake worth eating. I'd leave in the pineapple to go with the sauternes, and take out the chocolate/orange cpmponent...
Jim Cassidy

Owner, Millcreek Vineyards

(The prettiest vineyard in the Salt Lake Valley)
no avatar
User

Robert J.

Rank

Cowboy

Posts

2926

Joined

Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:36 pm

Location

Coming to a store near you.

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Robert J. » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:57 pm

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:I never change the baking temp. I either bake at 325 or 350 until a silver dollar sized spot in the center is almost done. It should still be soft and moist. It firms up as it cools.

I'm assuming you baked in a moist oven, yes?

And, obviously don't peek until it's almost done... usually somewhere around an hour if baked at 325, more like 40-45 minutes at 350.


When I made cheesecakes at a restaurant where I used to work this is basically what we did. A constant temp of 325 for an hour with a water in the pan (the springform pans were wrapped in foil and put on a sheet pan with water on it). I'm sorry that I assumed you were doing this, I should have mentioned it. I also like the single temp method...the path of least resistance.

I hope that your cheesecakes work better this time. I have the Cooks Illustrated recipes. Their NY Cheescake from the March/April 2002 issue is good, seriously good, and pure. It uses the two temp method but you don't have to worry about the water bath and such. I use this when I need a cheesecake to impress. But when I just need to satisfy friends and my sweet tooth I use the one temp method.

Also, follow Cynthia's advice about not peeking. The cake gods frown on peeking. Good luck.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:58 pm

Jim, understood about the chocolate, for Sauternes it doesn't make sense. It's just that this guy makes these truffles every year, and there'd be a stampede if they weren't served. We defer to the Sauternes this time by adding the orange component.

Robert J--I definitely NEED to impress with these. Water bath it is.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Robert J.

Rank

Cowboy

Posts

2926

Joined

Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:36 pm

Location

Coming to a store near you.

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Robert J. » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:13 pm

Jenise, if you use the 2 temp method go for 500 for 10 minutes and then 200 for 1 1/2 hours. You can skip the water bath but make sure that your internal temp reaches 150 and NO MORE. This will keep the cake from cracking. When the cake reaches temps of 160+ your cake will be cracked like a mosaic. If in doubt put a tray of water in the oven anyway. It couldn't hurt.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cheesecake clinic (I need help!)

by Jenise » Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:01 pm

Barb, yeah, Twinkle Tits. It's how I address myself in my head. I probably should have left it out of the story.

Cupcakes! I LOVE that! Somehow I didn't see your post yesterday, if I had I'd have been so tempted to go that route. Not that I have enough cupcake tins, but it would have been so easy to serve I'd have considered buying some.

And, let's see. It's not even 6:00 yet, hop on a plane right now--we'll still be up! And bring an overnight bag--tomorrow I'll need you more than ever!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 2 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign