Cheesecake is pretty awesome. It's super versatile, allowing you to change crust bases and toppings quite dramatically and still end up with something that's elegant and delicious. Which is why it's a great dish to add to your dessert repertoire! There are a number of approaches to making a cheesecake base: classic, new york style and no-bake. Today we're going to go down the more classic route.
Something to know about cooking a cheesecake…It's not particularly difficult but it's going to require a good amount of patience and technique. If you get impatient you're going to cause your cheesecake to crack, ruin the texture/flavor or just make a mess. With that out of the way, let's get baking!
- 1 Pkg Graham Crackers (10 ct.)
- 1/2 Cup Pecans (or similar nut)
- 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 5 Tablespoons Butter
Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
Crumble your Graham Crackers, Pecans and Sugar into a food processor and blitz until it becomes powdery. You can use a rolling pin and plastic bag too if you don't have a food processor or something, it's just a bit more work.
Melt your Butter and then pour it over the Graham Cracker Mixture.
Pulse it until the Mixture becomes homogeneously wet.
Press the Mixture into a 9-inch Springform Pan using your hand or the back of a spoon/measuring cup.
Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before putting your cheesecake batter in.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF in preparation to cook the cheesecake.
A little inspiration:
- 4 Packages of Cream Cheese (Full-Fat, 8oz/pkg)
- 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 4 Eggs
- 1/3 Cup Grand Marnier
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or extract)
Prepare your ingredients in advanced. All of them need to be at Room-Temperature before you proceed. If you don't do this they will not incorporate properly, making your batter lumpy or curdled. To speed up the process, you can place your eggs/cream cheese in warm water. Be careful not to break the eggs or let water get in the cream cheese.
Combine the Cream Cheese, Sugar, Sour Cream and Cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Reduce the speed to the lowest setting. Unlike most cakes you don't want to incorporate air into your cheesecake because when the air rises it will cause cracking.
Add the Eggs one at a time. Wait for each Egg to become incorporated before adding another.
Add the Grand Marnier and Vanilla and mix briefly.
Use a spatula and make sure everything is well mixed. At this point your batter should look velvety pile of sugary cheese. It's ok if there's a few small lumps. Better to have a few than overmix and have your cheesecake poof-up and implode.
Wrap your Springform Pan in Aluminum Foil. This is going to make sure water doesn't get into your cheesecake and cheesecake doesn't get in your water.
Gently tap your mixing bowl on the counter-top to try and get rid of any air.
Carefully pour the Batter into your pan.
Place the Springform Pan in a Roasting Pan and place them on the center rack of your preheated oven.
Pour boiling or really Hot Water into the Roasting Pan until it comes half way up the Springform Pan.
Allow the Cheesecake to bake for 1 Hour. Do not open the oven door!
After an hour, turn off the oven and allow the Cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door closed for 20 minutes.
Now prop your oven door open with a wooden spoon and let it cool for another 30 minutes or until the water in the Bain-Marie is cool enough to stick your finger in.
Take out the Cheesecake and gently run a knife around the edges so it comes out easy (later).
Put it in the fridge for at least an hour to allow it to set.
Carefully remove the sides from your Springform Pan. Cut Cheesecake slices and dollop some Blueberry Syrup (see below) over the top and enjoy!
Here's how mine turned out!
- 3 Cups Frozen Blueberries (Fresh is great too, you may have to adjust the water and sugar up a bit)
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/8 Tsp Cornstarch
- 1 Tsp Lemon Zest
- Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
- 1/4 Tsp Vanilla
In a medium saucepan combine the Blueberries, Sugar, Water, Salt and Cornstarch. Note: I find it easier to mix the cornstarch in a measuring cup with a little water and then mix with my finger to make a slurry
Over med-high heat, bring the mixture up to a simmer.
Cook for about 10 minutes or until you reach your desired thickness. Then remove from heat.
Add your Lemon Zest/Juice and Vanilla and mix well.
Allow to cool (it will thicken up slightly more when cooled) and enjoy!