I know this is a food blog, and maybe I shouldn’t be delving into these things, but I’ve had a lot on my mind lately…
As we all know, the political climate in America (and around the globe) has been burning hot. Things were simmering for quite some time, but the simmer has erupted into a full boil and is threatening to spill over.
Here in the States, we are looking into the face of a xenophobic, islamophobic, racist, hate-mongering, modern day fascist. The Republican frontrunner (?!) has brought out a very nasty side of our fellow Americans. I am so disappointed and saddened by the way my countrymen have responded to these times of trials and tribulations. Instead of coming together and supporting one another, we are being torn apart.
Places of worship are being desecrated, Muslims are being harassed in the streets and their schools, Muslim women are being targeted for wearing their religious head covering.
People that we grew up with, who know us, are responding to us with vitriol. I just feel so hurt and disappointed.
You guys, we are one. We bleed the same blood. Don’t let hate drive a wedge between us. We are better than that.
Cheesecake is something that I’ve been struggling with and wanting to conquer for quite some time. The last time I attempted making a standard cheesecake was in Spring 2013, when my father and mother were visiting. My Papa was a fan of cheesecake, and it was for him that I attempted to take a shot at it. The crust was slightly burnt and super soggy, and the surface was majorly cracked, but my dad savored and relished each bite.
This time around, I made sure to do my research before I got started. I went through and read about various tips and techniques, and I also reached out to the Cheesecake Queen herself, Faaiza of Modest Munchies, for some pointers (take a look at her impressive roundup of cheesecakes!). The following are techniques that will ensure you get the perfect cheesecake:
- Be sure to grease your pan! Most recipes don’t call for the springform pan to be greased, but to help prevent cracking, make sure you’re greasing the sides. The science behind it is that as the cheesecake cools, it contracts inwards. If the sides aren’t greased, the cake will stick to the sides and crack as it contracts.
- Use room temperature cream cheese and eggs.
- After the cream cheese has been mixed well with the sugar, swap out your mixer/whisk for a mixing spoon and gently mix the remaining ingredients. Do not overmix!
- Once you’ve poured the batter into the pan, tap the pan on the counter a few times. This helps release any air bubbles that could potentially lead to crackage (awesome tip from Faaiza!).
- Low and slow baking is the way to go! Skip the water bath, and bake according to the directions on the recipe. Once the time is up, turn off the heat, and allow the cheesecake to cool down in the oven itself. The point behind this is that it allows the cheesecake to cool slowly, thus avoiding abrupt temperature changes, and eventual cracks.
- If all else fails, cover that baby up with some fruit or whipped cream and call it a day 🙂
(Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.)
New York Cheesecake
Yield: 1 9-inch Cake
- 15 leaves graham crackers, crushed
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 pounds (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325°F and set aside a greased 9-inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cinnamon and mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to prepared springform pan, and press the crumbs onto the bottom. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar and whisk until smooth. Using a mixing spoon, add whipping cream and mix until just combined. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring only until combined. Add sour cream, all-purpose flour, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Pour batter into springform pan and tap on the counter a few times to release any air pockets.
Bake for 70 minutes, and then turn off the oven. Allow the cake to cool in the oven, without opening the door, for 6 to 8 hours. Transfer to fridge and chill until ready to serve, at least 4 hours.
Combine sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread evenly over chilled cheesecake.