Sunday, February 18, 2007

Crack me up and other cheesecake queries addressed

Okay - here's a picture of the cheesecake sans ze cherries. Yes indeed there is a crack - i'm all cracked up in fact. (course they were all covered with cherries - which may've been the reason the cherries on the top came to be? c'est possible ) I think this is the most cracked out cheesecake i've ever had - usually there's one. And, yes Will i'm sure it is due to the lack of either a bath or a pan of water in the oven. I really should try at least a pan of water in the oven to see the effects on this particular recipe - positive or negative. With the amount of egg white in the recipe I am also curious what that water effect might have. (Baking is so interesting due to the chemistry involved dontcha think?)
As far as the density of the cake - ah - that is what makes it so unique. It is the lightest, fluffiest cheesecake you've ever tasted. More along the lines of a souffle or a mousse. It is realy delicious and anti-diet. Normally you would feel very full after a small piece of cheesecake. This recipe creates a considerably sized cake for starters - a 10 inch pan is large (not the largest one I own mind you). Then imagine the cheesecake being 10 inches instead of the more commercial sized cake - around 8 inches. Then the height of the cake - I'd guess it to be approximately 2 inches. Now slice said big cake up - and put a piece on your plate - your plate is rather full. You'd look at that slice filling up the plate and think - I'm going to be sick if I finish that piece. I'm here to tell you not only will you not be sick, you may ask for seconds. An Aunt Florrie piece perhaps (Aunt Florrie will be a post for another day - suffice it to say for now Aunt Florrie was stingy with the cake ok?) but seconds are not unheard of with this recipe and you'll have enough to go around for a small gathering. It is a great recipe for a nice sized dinner party.
The only drawback to the recipe (other than the cracking) is that it does not slice very cleanly. Refrigerating over nite is practically a must. And when you're slicing, you could have a glass of water nearby to dip your knife into to get a clean cut each slice.
The benefits outweigh the small drawbacks however :-)
Everyone enjoyed their cake last night. My mom had 2 pieces! The woman can eat. My nephew was still full from dinner but i packed him up a piece to eat late last night (as well as some extra for my mom). We have a little less than half the cake left. I will be indulging again tonite fershure. The husband will be returning from his trip tonight. He has been in Delaware at the family beach house doing the yearly cleanup and repair work with his siblings. After all his hard work I am sure he could use a slice. You should have seen his face when he saw that cheesecake in the "2 hour let it stand" stage - it was the - "you made cheesecake and i'm going away and will there be any left for me?" face. Of course I'd make sure there was a piece for him. Silly man - he knows better - after 22 years of marriage I'd leave him cake-free? not happenin' - not no way. not no how.


Sue McGettigan said...

Mmmmm, cheesecake :)

Will said...

The cracks are a result of steam escaping. I'm not so sure that the bain marie (water bath) would be a good idea or not. Hmmm. I anticipated it being light, and envy the family who actually got a piece.

I have a recipe that calls for you to spread a thin layer of sweetened sour cream over the top of the cake. that helps with the cracking too.

Cracks do not bother me. Company would bother me. I'm saying just hand me a fork, lay a dish towel across my chest...lie back and dig in.

Will said...

I'm back--sorry. I think you should try using clean dental floss, not the minty kind. Pull your floss super tight and saw straight down, don't go back up, just one downward motion. If your crust is hard save that for a knife. It should work great.

Professionals use piano wire to cut their cheese cakes.

I've also heard two wives tales about cracking: the internal temperature gets to high and cracks--steam. And, when the cake expands during cooking and then rests it cracks becuase the sides of the cake are stuck to the pan. The later's solution is to cool the cake about 10 minutes, run a sharp knife around the pan and then continue the cooling process.

Either way, Yum-O...Brav-o...RAK me one of those babies.

Christa H. said...

I got your answer-
you only need a water bath if a custard type dish does not have some form of starch in it- also put a terry cloth towel at the bottom of the deep pan before putting your cheesecake on top and adding the water to keep the bottom from being overdone- and use water that is almost boiling.
The cracking occurs when the cheesecake is overcooked. There should be a 3 inch circle in the middle that looks totally uncooked and wiggly when you take the cake out of the oven and then you must refrigerate it.
It will be perfect that way.
Try this read:
"Cookwise" by Shirley O. Corriher- scientific reasons behind cooking, won James Beard award too!
I <3 it!
It even explains why some people have stinky urine after eating asparagus! LOL

Donna said...

I say Will and Christa need to hook up. They would have a lot to talk about. I always thought cheesecake should be cracked. Seems more authentic to me. A lot I know. Course I'm the one who wanted to dip it into a bowl while it was still warm and eat it like pudding!