The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. The original recipe can be found at her blog, Jenny Bakes.
Cindy and I joined an online baking group called the Daring Bakers. It's part of the brand new Daring Kitchen website. Once a month we have to make something following a recipe and guidelines set out by whoever is the host/hostess that month. The daring bakers have made all sorts of different things: pretzels, flourless chocolate cakes, lasagne, etc. Well, this month it was cheesecake and we were free to take the recipe and modify it to make it our own. Cindy and I hummed and hawed and ended up making a cheesecake inspired by a favourite Starbucks drink. We made a Raspberry White Mocha Cheesecake, with Espresso Cream Sauce and Raspberry Sauce on the side.
And as for the pan, I learned all about cheesecake pans from George Geary's books (which is where the Espresso Cream was inspired from). I have actual cheesecake pans, which are different than springform pans. The cheesecake pans I have are Magic Line and have solid sides on them, and a pop out base. The bonus of these pans, is you never have to grease them. And, I've made probably over a hundred cheesecakes since we bought them, and they turn out perfectly every time. If you make cheesecakes, it's worth your time to check them out.
Raspberry White Mocha Cheesecake
2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 stick of butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup consisting of 3 shots espresso and the remaining filled with cream (about 3/8 cup espresso, 5/8 cup cream)
8 ounces of white chocolate, melted and cooled
1 Tablespoon Raspberry Schnapps
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and scrape out
1/2 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and strained
1. Wrap foil around bottom and sides of 10 inch cheesecake pan (or springform) three times. Preheat oven to 350F. Find another pan that the cheesecake will fit into to make a waterbath.
2. Put on a large pot of water and boil it, to be used for waterbath later.
3. Mix crust together in a bowl, and press into bottom of cheesecake pan. Place in freezer.
4. Mix cream cheese and sugar together in mixer. Add eggs, one at a time. Add espresso and cream. Add white chocolate. Add Schnapps and scrapings from vanilla bean. Add strained part of the raspberries (ie no seeds etc)
5. Pour cream cheese mixture over the crust. Place foil covered cheesecake pan in a larger pan and pour boiling water in the larger pan until water comes up halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake approximately 55 minutes. Cheesecake will be done when lightly browned and centre still jiggles. At this point, turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven for one hour more. Remove from oven. Cool slightly then put in the fridge on a wire rack. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving but ideally overnight.
We decorated the cheesecake with whipping cream...
and here are the sauces that we put on the plate with the cheesecake...
Espresso Cream Sauce
2 shots Starbucks espresso
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Kahlua
Mix first three ingredients on stove until just bubbling. Remove from heat, add Kahlua. Can be used warm or cold.
2 cups of raspberries, strained
sugar, to taste (about 2 tablespoons maybe)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together and serve.
Last Thursday we had a cheesecake tasting and invited over a bunch of friends to try our new creation. It got rave reviews. The sauces we made to decorate the plates were a hit as well. Everyone was so impressed with how creamy the cheesecake was. We even had one person, that wasn't a very big fan of cheesecake that said she loved it, and was so surprised because normally she's not a cheesecake fan. So that is the ultimate compliment.
The taste was predominantly espresso, and if we made it again, I might cut it back to only two shots of espresso, and maybe add a few more raspberries. Personally, I've made many cheesecakes in my time. I never used to like cheesecake, until I had a really good one once, that didn't taste overly cheesy. Since that time, I've tried many recipes, but this was the first time I've ever really made up a flavour and modified a recipe. This was my first Daring Baker challenge and I look forward to the next one. It was fun baking with my friend Cindy and dreaming up different ideas for how we would flavour the cheesecake. Our second choice was a Chai Cheesecake with ginger snap cookies in the crust. The Raspberry White Mocha won in the end, and it was worth it, as it was soooo tasty. However, next time I make a cheesecake, I just might try something new again... and go for the Chai one we dreamed up...