Cheesecake 101 - Everyday Delicious Kitchen

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Cheesecake 101

As Experts, we've tested thousands of cheesecake recipes and countless techniques, and we've discovered that making a great cheesecake is easier than you might think. Just follow these simple techniques for cheesecake success!

The Oven

Whilst preparing the cheesecake, heat oven to recommended temperature to ensure proper heat level when ready to bake.

The best position for a cheesecake in the oven is the lowest shelf in a gas oven, as the heat is slightly cooler down the bottom, which will help achieve an even bake. If using an electric oven, position the cheesecake on the centre rack, well clear of the heating elements.

The Ingredients

Using quality ingredients, such as Philadelphia Cream Cheese, is the first factor to making a flavourful cheesecake with a perfect creamy texture.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese sometime seems hard to work with, remember to allow the Philadelphia Cream Cheese block to come to room temperature before use. The best way to soften Philly is to allow it to stand for 1 hour at room temperature or remove Philly from foil, cut into chunks and microwave on High for 30 seconds per 250g.

Set out ingredients on counter about 10 minutes before starting. Be sure eggs & cream cheese are at room temperature - the eggs can then be beaten to a larger volume & the cream cheese will blend easily with the other ingredients.

The Pan

A springform pan with a removable outer rim allows for easy release of cheesecake whilst leaving crust intact. Be sure to invert the base before you start, as this stops the base from getting stuck in the lip of the base when serving. For a baked cheesecake it is best to grease and line the base and sides with baking paper. For chilled cheesecakes, a light spray with olive oil or non stick cooking spray should do the trick.

Eliminate or reduce the amount of cracking when baking cheesecakes:

Avoid over beating the cream cheese or beating the cream cheese at high speed. Over beating incorporates air into the batter, causing the cheesecake to puff up and then collapse.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until just blended.

Provide a moist baking environment for your cheesecake by placing a small bowl of hot tap water on the bottom of the oven. The steaming effect created helps prevent burning and the drying out of the cake crumbs.

Avoid over baking. A cheesecake is cooked when the edges are slightly puffed and the centre is slightly soft and custard like.

Avoid opening the oven door during cooking. If you must open the door, open it towards the end of baking time and shut quickly but gently.

Always use the correct sized pan for the cheesecake mixture stated in the recipe.

Cooling Cheesecakes:

Electric Oven: Once cooked, cool the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar, for 1 hour.

Gas Oven: Once cooked, cool the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed until cool to touch.

Refrigerate the cake only when completely cooled.

Cool cheesecakes in their tin and only remove once the cake has been chilled overnight. Always line the tin with greaseproof paper to prevent the tin flavour affecting the cheesecake.

Serving

To prevent a baked cheesecake from sticking to the knife when slicing, remember to dip the knife into hot water and wipe away the excess water. Then slice the cake and wipe the knife clean between each cut.

The Crust

For making more flavourful cheesecake crusts here are some useful tips. The basic crust recipe is:

11/4 cups biscuit crumbs (Nice or Marie) to 80g melted butter.
1 cup of plain biscuit crumbs is equivalent to 8-9 biscuits.
Use unsalted butter whenever possible as it gives the best flavour.
To crush the biscuits use a food processor or place in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin. Always press the crumbs firmly into the base of the pan using the bottom of a glass or the back of a spoon.

Great ideas to change the flavour of your base

Change the variety of the biscuit.

Use a flavoured biscuit, your favourite chocolate biscuit or even a cake base made from sponge or jam roll.

Add flavouring and texture to your mix by including any of the following: toasted desiccated or shredded coconut, toasted and ground hazelnuts, almonds or pistachio nuts, grated citrus rind and sweet spices.

Recommended Toppings

We recommend the following topping ingredients for cheesecakes: Whipped cream, chocolate curls, chopped chocolate, sour cream, fresh fruit slices, chopped chocolate bars (such as peppermint crisp), nuts, ice-cream topping, glace fruit, fresh flowers (non-poisonous varieties), dust with icing sugar, cocoa or chocolate powder, citrus fruit wedges or twists.