Originally Posted by spork
When I announced my goal of 2012 to learn how to bake, a friend sent me a recipe... of sorts. Not confident of her English, she sent me instead a pic of her hand-drawn instructions for cheesecake. Too funny. But I'm not going to try baking her pie, based on stick drawings alone, and report her recipe a failure.
Chief LW's OP is as greek to me as her doodling since I have no baking clue, but I'm looking forward to see a deconstructed recipe that might help me to understand the alchemy of a cheesecake.
Who is Lindy?
Lindy opened a successful restaurant and was famed for his New York style cheesecake. He was also the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. His cheesecake recipe was such a hit, that many people claim that it is the ultimate cheesecake.
Oh, and Chief LW (that's me) was known as Goodweed of the North previously, and is definitely a he, not a she.
And yes, my op was intended for those who have baked cheesecakes before, and know something about why they behave as they do. But for you my freind, I will simplify.
Cheesecake is a custard, cooked within a crust, like lemon marangue pie, or key lime pie. But instead of using condenced milk, key lime juice, and egg yolks to make the custard, you instead use whole eggs, cream, and cream cheese to make the custard. In pumpkin pie, you use pumpkin puree', egg, and condensed milk.
The common element to any custard is the use of some kind of dairy (usually cream or condensed milk) and egg. Additions such as vanilla, citrus juice, pumpkin and spices, or cream cheese, vanilla and sour cream give each the characteristic flavor of the pie.
For cheesecake, after the custard batter is made, it is poured into a formed crust that can be made from crushed graham crackers, sugar, and butter, to crushed Oreo cookies, depending on the recipe. The Lindy's cheesecake uses a simple shortbread crust that has lemon zest added for flavor. The crust is pressed into a buttered, spring-form pan, usually a nine inch pan. It is baked long enough to set the crust (about ten to fifteen minutes) and is then filled with the uncooked custard filling. Initially, it is put in a hot oven of 450 to 500 degrees F. to form a light "skin" on top of the pie. The temperature is reduced to 200' F to allow the custard to reach an internal temperature of about 175' F. without scorching the top or burning the crust, at which point, the egg protiens in the filling set, turning the liquid filling into a soft custard that is just firm enough to hold its shape when cut into.
So now you know what cheesecake is. Here's the recipe and cooking instructions. Follow it exactly, and you won't have to play with altering temperatures, and adding extra egg or changing anything like I did to make it work. I can do it because I have years of experience playing with and changing recipes, or creating my own.
Instead of giving you the Lindy's Cheesecake, I'm going to post a superb, never fail recipe for a traditional New York Cheesecake. You will love the results.
New York Cheesecake
For the crust:
1 and ½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
6 tbs. Butter
2 tbs. Sugar
For the Filling:
2 lbs. Cream cheese (4 eight oz. packages)
¾ cup Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 tbs. Cornstarch
1 cup Sour Cream
Preheat the oven to 450’ F.
Combine the crust ingredients and press into the sides and bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Place the crust into your freezer for 15 minutes.
Soften the cream cheese in your microwave (Don’t over do it; the cream cheese must be warm, not hot.) and place into a large bowl. whisk in the sugar until everything is smooth. Using a rotary beater, beat in the remaining ingredients until all is well blended, smooth and creamy.
Remove the crust from the freezer bake for ten minutes at 400'F. Remove from the oven and pour in the filling. Heat the oven to 425'. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200’ F. And bake for an additional 35 minutes. Check the cheesecake by gently shaking the pan. The custard should jiggle just a little. If ts not cooked enough, put it back in for another seven to ten minutes and recheck.
Turn off the heat and open the oven door. Let the cheesecake cool with the oven for 2 to 3 hours. This will help prevent the custard from cracking.
For a firmer cheesecake, bake at 200’ F. For 45 minutes. My favorite topping on cheesecake is sour cream that has been sweetened with sugar or Sucralose and vanilla (then the New York Cheesecake is called a Hollywood Cheesecake). But you can put virtually any fruit pie filling on top that you want. Cheesecake goes great with apple, pineapple, strawberry, blueberry, cherry, even banana cream. It’s all good.
If you want to get real tricky, line the spring-form pan with parchment paper and omit the crust. Cook the cheesecake, remove the pan sides when all is cool. Slide the filling from the pan bottom onto a table. Put the pan sides back on, press the pie crust to the pan sides and bottom, and bake your crust. Fill the crust when done with chocolate or maple fudge, or firm fruit-filling and allow to cool. Then place the cheesecake custard on top. You could make this red, white and blue by using strawberries on the bottom, followed by cheesecake, and finally blueberries on top.
You can do this because as the custard cooks, it shrinks a little, from the outside in. You will find that it has shrunk perfectly to fill the cooked crust.
Spork, I hope this has helped de-mystify my op. So go ahead and make yourself a cheesecake. I did. It's not a difficult as it sounds.
Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North