Monday, May 27, 2013

My First Cheesecake

I moved in and began taking classes at The Culinary Institute of America on May 6th. The CIA is awesome, absolutely awesome! I have learned so much already, and its only been three weeks! I'm taking five classes: Culinary Math, Food Safety, First Year Seminar, Baking Ingredients and Equipment Technology, and Baking and Pastry Techniques. So far, I'm doing well in all of my classes. Chef Rudolf Spiess is my Baking and Pastry Techniques instructor. In his class, my classmates and I have made chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, and pound cake.

On Thursday, I made my first cheesecake. It was easy to make, it didn't take very long to make, and it tasted great! The small depression on top of the cheesecake was a result of air getting trapped in the batter. This is something I'll have to remedy when making my second cheesecake. Also, I will be doubling the graham cracker crust recipe on my next attempt.

To make one 8" cheesecake, you will need the following ingredients:          

(Weighing ingredients is more precise than measuring by volume.)

Cream Cheese - 1.25 #
Granulated Sugar - 6 oz.
Eggs - 3
Egg Yolk - 1
Heavy Cream - 2.5 oz.
Cornstarch - .75 oz.
Graham Cracker Crumbs - 2 oz.
Butter, melted - 1 oz.

Preheat Oven To 200 Degrees Fahrenheit 

Step 1

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Use the paddle attachment on a planetary mixer for best results. Set the mixer on low speed, stop the mixer after about two minutes, and make sure you scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl to ensure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Repeat this process until there are no lumps.

Step 2

Add the cornstarch to the heavy cream so it can completely dissolve. 

Step 3

Add the eggs in increments (3-4). After each addition, mix on low speed until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. Again, make sure to stop and scrape the paddle and sides of the bowl before adding the next increment.

Step 4

Add cornstarch/heavy cream mixture to the batter. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl, and mix on low speed until there are no lumps.

Step 5

Melt the butter. Crush the graham crackers. Combine these ingredients.

Step 6

Spray the bottom and sides of an 8" baking tin with cooking oil spray. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the baking tin.

Step 7

Pour the graham cracker mixture into the baking tin. Use a fork to evenly distribute and pack down the mixture.

Step 8

Pour the batter into the baking tin. Try not to get any air bubbles trapped inside.

Step 9

Bake the cheese cake until you can shake the baking tin and the entire cheese cake moves as one. I left my cheese cake in a convection oven for about an hour, but baking times may vary. You don't have to worry about over carmelization (burning) the cheese cake because we're not taking it above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 10

Once your cheese cake is done baking, let it cool completely. After it is cool, place it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Step 11

Place a  piece of parchment paper on top of the cheese cake. Place a piece of cardboard on top of that. Turn the baking tin over. Use a propane torch and heat up the bottom and edges of the baking tin. This will melt the fat from the cooking oil spray, which will make your cheese cake come out with ease. Before you remove the baking tin, hold it vertically and tap it on a sturdy table, rotating it a quarter turn after each tap. Remove the baking tin, and turn the cheese cake right-side-up.


If you feel like flavoring your cheese cake, this is what you'll need to do:
Instead of adding 1.25 # (20 oz.) of cream cheese, add only 1# (16 oz.). After Step 4 is complete, add 4 oz. of your favorite flavoring and mix thoroughly. Yes, it's that simple! 


This post is dedicated to the women and men who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

photo credit: Beverly & Pack via photopin cc

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