Well, 2011 is officially under way! Epiphany has passed which means the holiday season is officially over and classes reconvened yesterday. I suppose this also means that any resolutions should be implemented immediately, no? And so begins the guilt ridden process of remembering what you promised yourself you would accomplish. I actually made my resolution achievable this year: learn to cook more grains and eat more fiber. Simple and inclusive of many other goals. We’ll see how I do…
We brought in the new year with some great friends, wine, board games, and a pizza party. Everybody brought fun toppings and we prepared different kinds of pizzas that were quickly inhaled. After super, we played Apples to Apples (which I am horrible at playing!) and I believe Rebecca won.
I debuted my first attempt at a cheesecake for dessert. I had found this recipe on allrecipes.com that had great reviews with numerous recommendations for altering the ingredients for jazzy results. Given that those same reviews were also anxiety causing (everybody had suggestions for how to keep the cheesecake from cracking), I decided to stick to the exact recipe.
I crushed the graham crackers, formed the crust, and began the process of combining the cake part of the dessert. I was very careful not to overmix the cream cheese and gently poured the mixture into the spring-form pan.
There were two suggestions from the reviews that I employed during this step. First, I put some water into the tea kettle and set it to boil. Once it began to whistle, I poured the steaming water into a pyrex that I placed directly into the preheat oven. I positioned it on the rack below where the pan would sit. Many reviewers had suggested cooking the cheesecake by using a water bath, but I was worried that the water would leak into the cake. Instead, I placed the steaming water below and hoped that it would create enough humidity in the oven. The second suggestion I took was to be very thorough in buttering the sides of the pan. Apparently (I didn’t know this) during the cooling process, the cake will pull away from the edges in a fashion that often leads to cracking. I carefully greased the pan, poured the batter, and into the oven it went for SIX HOURS. One hour for the cooking, and five for cooling. I still think this might have been excessive, but it worked! My cake came out beautiful and it did not crack!
I served it with cherry pie filling (sweetened with splenda) and the end result was wonderful. It was smooth and not too creamy (I don’t like cheesecake too creamy) and exactly how I wanted it to taste. For next time, I did read that one reviewer substituted the milk in the recipe for Bailey’s Irish Cream. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I will need to try that.
Here’s to starting out a great year with a strong recipe! Have a wonderful beginning to 2011 friends 🙂