Saturday, September 20, 2008
As soon as I came back home on Thursday I knew exactly what dish I wanted to tackle. Cheesecake has been on my mind all week-during lectures, before bed, while studying-and I've even had the particular recipe I wanted to attempt bookmarked for months. So after my roommate requested a cheesecake my mind was set. So when I left school on Thursday afternoon I bought my first spring-form pan and a ton of cream cheese and got to work.
Unfortunately, things did not go as easily as I had imagined and for some reason my graham cracker crust just didn't look stable enough as I pressed it into the bottom of the pan-could it have been the low-fat graham crackers? And then it seemed that my bargain spring-form pan-at under $10-was also working against me and when I opened the oven after an hour my cheesecake was browned on the edges, domed in the center and cracked. I closed the oven door dejectedly, disillusioned by my less than picture-perfect cheesecake.
I gave myself a few hours to get over it as the object of my disappointment set in the oven for a few hours. I woke up the next morning ready and determined to get the better of this cheesecake. Before even having breakfast, I faced the cheesecake once again-this time with the dome thankfully sunken and level, albeit cracked. Knife in hand I began to carve away the browned top and sides, nibbling the shavings as I went-still tasty, just not aesthetically pleasing enough for me.
Left with a naked, white cheesecake I sliced the entire cake and proceeded with the embellishments. I cut up strips of parchment paper and pressed them into borders on each individual slice. I made whipped cream dams on the shortest side of each slice and began to spoon blueberries into several of the slices, while the paper borders helped to keep the topping, well, on the top. Other slices were topped with raspberry white chocolate glaze that I concocted by reducing fresh raspberries with sugar, water and corn syrup and mixing it with melted white chocolate, while other slices were topped with the smooth dulce de leche I made the day before while the cheesecake was in the oven.
Afterwards I put all the individual slices into the freezer to set. My new and improved cheesecake made its debut at the bible study held at my boyfriend's house later that night and received rave reviews. No leftovers made it back home with me that night, good thing I kept a couple of the slices hidden in my freezer to keep.
My ability to rummage a success out of a self-proclaimed baking failure saved me from never attempting a cheesecake again. However, it will be a while before I try it again, mostly because I'm eager to try new and exciting recipes and also because cheesecake for two weeks in a row might kill me.
15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.