Once you've mastered how to make a basic cheesecake (the bath is key), the possibilities are endless. Here are a few new twists: summer berries, mango jalapeño, raw & vegan mint, muscadine, oli...
- Nut Crust made with almonds
- 2 tablespoons (16 g) instant espresso powder
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) hot water
- 2 cups (480 g) sour cream
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) cream cheese
- 8 ounces (225 g) mascarpone
- 1/2 cup (112 g) packed brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) Bailey’s Irish Cream
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) Frangelico
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4). Follow the instructions below for the Nut Crust, using almonds. Press into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) pan. Let cool completely before adding the cheesecake batter.
To make the cheesecake: Lower the oven to 325ºF (170ºC or gas mark 3). In a small bowl, whisk together the instant espresso powder and hot water until completely dissolved; set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and 1/2 cup (100 g) of the granulated sugar; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and mascarpone on low speed until softened, scraping down the sides of the bowl, underneath the paddle, and the paddle frequently with a rubber spatula, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar and the brown sugar and continue mixing on low and scraping down the sides, bottom, and paddle until there are no visible lumps. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix just until combined, about 10 seconds after each egg. Add in both yolks and stir just until combined, about 10 seconds. Stir in the Baileys, Frangelico, and instant espresso powder mixture.
Variation: Espresso Brownie Cheesecake Bars
Omit the Baileys and Frangelico and substitute 1/3 cup (80 ml) strong brewed coffee and 1/3 cup (80 ml) Kahlúa. Use the Espresso Brownie Crust (page 20) instead of almond crust. Place the pan with the crust in a roasting pan (one that is around the same height or lower than your pan). Pour the batter over the almond crust and spread with a small offset spatula to level it. Place in the oven and pour almost boiling water into the roasting pan (it should come up halfway around the sides of the pan). Bake for about 50 minutes; remove from the oven and top with the sour cream mixture. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheesecake is firm around the edges, but still jiggly in the center (the jiggly part should be about the size of a quarter).
Remove from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Gently run a small sharp knife or small spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Allow to cool at room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (this will help the cheesecake set completely). Remove from the refrigerator and slice into squares or rectangles to serve.
Yield: One 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) cheesecake
Bottom-Only Nut Crust
2 cups (190 g) finely ground nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans; mix no more than two)
2 tablespoons (26 g) granulated or brown sugar
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC, or gas mark 4). In a medium bowl, combine the ground cookies or nuts and sugar. Add the butter and stir with a rubber spatula to combine, making sure all the butter is absorbed and the crumbs or nuts are evenly coated.
Place the mixture in a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan. Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass, press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. For a bottom-and-sides crust, use the sides of a glass to press about half of the mixture into the sides of the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly firm. (The nut crust will be toasted to a golden brown and have a nutty aroma.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, about 10 minutes.
Excerpted from Making Artisan Cheesecake, Quarry Books.