Monday, January 21, 2008

The Cheesecakes

The recipes for the cheesecakes were requested by some of the guests at the party, and since I spent the morning typing them up, I'd thought I'd post them here. The recipes are long because the instructions are very detailed, so don't freak. These are worth it. The Lemon curd cheesecake is quite possibly the best cheesecake I've ever eaten. I Did the New York cheesecake with the chocolate marble version. Also fantastic. These are so creamy and perfectly balanced. Neither is too heavy or thick. If you are trying to lose weight you may want to forget this post.

The Lemon Curd cheesecake is from a special issue magazine called "Desserts from America's Top Chefs." It's a Meredith publication so it should be availible anywhere. There are several really, really good recipes in it if you want to just buy it for yourself. The New York cheesecake is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. If you buy this one for yourself you have to try the black bean soup and the chicken parmesean.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers)
3 T sugar
1/ 8 t kosher salt
5 T unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 8 oz packages regular cream cheese
1/2 c + 2 T sugar
3 T flour
pinch of salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 t lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolks
1/2 c sour cream

unsalted butter, melted for the pan
Lemon Curd

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a 9" springform pan by cutting a parchment circle to fit the pan bottom.

2. For the crust: Combine the graham crackers crumbs, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Stir in the 5 T melted butter with a fork until well combined. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool the crust in the pan on a wire rack.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed in an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment about 2 minutes, until creamy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add all the remaining sugar, then the flour, and finally the pinch of salt. With a spatula, scrape down the side of the bowl and the paddle twice.

4. Switch to the whisk attachment and continue mixing, adding the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whip in the eggs one at a time, then add the yolk, scrapping the bowl and whisking at least twice. Continue to whip on low speed, adding the sour cream. Whip until well blended. Do not overbeat. The batter should be light and airy.

5. Brush the sides of the springform pan with melted butter. Wrap the outside of the pan tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure there are no holes in the foil. Pour the filling into the pan. Place the spring form pain in a large roasting pan and pour enough hot tap water into the roasting pan so that it comes about halfway up the edge of the springform pan. Place pans carefully in the oven and bake until the filling is just set, about 45 to 60 minutes. (A 1" area at the center of the cheesecake should jiggle slightly when the cheesecake is done. Do not test with a knife; it will crack the cake.) Immediately remove the pan from the water and remove the foil. Place pan on a wire rack and cool 15 minutes. Using a sharp, small knife, loosen cake from edges of pan; cool 30 minutes more. Remove side from pan. Cool cheesecake to room temperature. Loosely cover cheesecake and chill overnight.

6. About 2 to 3 hours before serving, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Replace side of springform pan. Warm the Lemon Curd until it is pourable and spread it evenly over the surface of the cheesecake, tilting it from side to side to form an even layer. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. To serve, remove wrap and pan side. Slide the cake still on the parchment paper, onto a serving plate.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Lemon Curd:
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 large egg yolks
1 c sugar
4 t lemon zest
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces

Combine the lemon juice, egg yolks, and sugar in a nonreactive bowl. Whisk until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a heavy nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until hot, 5 to 10 minutes. The mixture should begin to thicken as the temperature increases. Once thick (it should coat the back of the spoon), reduce the heat and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the curd into a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and butter with a wire whisk until the butter has completely melted. Cool slightly before using. The curd can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 1 week. Warm over a double boiler or in microwave briefly to return to liquid form. It will set up again when chilled.

New York Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T sugar

2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, cut into rough 1 inch chunks and softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1/8 t salt
1/3 c sour cream
2 t lemon juice
2 t vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 T unsalted butter, melted
For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the graham crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together, then pour into a 10" springform pan (9" works. ) Press the crumbs firmly into an even layer using the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. For the filling: Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until softened, 1 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters thoroughly.

3. Beat in half of the sugar and the salt and until incorporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Beat in the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla until incorporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks until incorporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs 2 at a time, until incorporated, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed, 1 to 3 minutes.

4. Being careful not to disturb the baked crust, brush the sides of the springform pan with the melted butter. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 10 minutes.

5. Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the cheesecake, reads about 150 degrees, about 1 hour 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

6. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and run a paring knife around the edge of the cake. Let cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, running a paring knife around the edge of the cake every hour or so. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.

7. To unmold the cheesecake, wrap a wet, hot kitchen towel around the springform pan and let sit for 1 minute. Remove the sides of the pan. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.

Marble Cheesecake Variation:
Before baking cheesecake: Whisk 1/4 cup boiling heavy cream and 5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped, together until melted and smooth. Let cool completely. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate randomly over the top of the batter. Using a knife, swirl the chocolate into the cheesecake batter, creating an attractive marbled pattern.


thom said...

I think some ingredients are missing from the lemon curd one. Don't worry about it though. You can fix it whenever you get a chance to. After your nap maybe, or the nap after that.

Don the Younger said...

I agree, with Thom

It does appear the lemon curd cheesecake is missing some ingredients

But nap first mmmmm nap

Don the Younger said...

See how she is. She's gone back and corrected the recipe and didn't give her non-cooking brothers any credit for seeing the problem.

And with the same stroke, makes us look like idiots with our nonsensical ramblings.

She is devious today. I bet she had a nap.

/wonders where his nap is

Amy B. said...

I did have a nap.

any way I can make you guys look bad is only revenge for the teasing I got when I was a kid.