Week 13

New York Cheesecake

[taken from page 557 of “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook”]New York Cheesecake

Notes: I recently found a springform pan at a thrift store, so what’s the first thing I think? Cheesecake. I felt that I was fairly well equipped for this challenge, and I was. I had to buy a few things (pie server, pastry brush) beforehand, though. But at least I wasn’t caught without them.

Lessons:
1. Before I go shopping for ingredients, I need to make sure that I know how much certain ingredients are in ounces. When I was mixing all the ingredients together, I found out that I had less than half as much sour cream as the recipe asked for. I was distraught for a moment or so, as I decided whether or not I was going to go to the grocery store again to pick up the remainder. I decided against going out again, and in the end the cheesecake didn’t seem to suffer.
2. Even though a standing mixer would be nice for this recipe, it’s kind of overkill. A standard electric hand mixer is adequate. Also, whoever designed today’s hand mixers was brilliant in making it so that you could set it down on its back and not have it tip over.
3. As I have experienced before, I strictly obeyed the temperature rules on this recipe. Unfortunately, that meant that I took it out about 30 minutes before half-way through its cooking. I think next time I’ll try the timed method, as it got to the required temperature much too quickly and ended up being a little runny.
4. Sometimes you have to read between the instructions. When it says to not open the oven door after 10 minutes at 500° (reducing the temperature to 200°), and to have a thermometer in the middle of the cheesecake to know when it’s done, it means that you’ve got to put the thermometer in before you put it in the oven the first time.
5. I may need to grease the bottom of the pan next time, because none of the graham cracker crust came with the slice I cut. Although, brushing the sides of the pan with melted unsalted butter before pouring in the mix gave it a nice brown outer coating as well as making it easy to get out of the pan.

Final Analysis: This is definitely a recipe for people with time on their hands. The preparation time is relatively small, but once you get it in the oven, the waiting begins. You’ve got to wait for it to cook, then you have to take it out to cool for 3 hours, periodically using a knife to separate the cheesecake from the edges of the pan. Then it’s another 3 hours in the refrigerator. Despite being worth the wait, making this cheesecake consumed my Saturday.

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