Orange Cheesecake with a Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Sour Cream Topping!
Jenny from Jenny Bakes hosts the April 2009 challenge. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I love cheesecake and this was the perfect dessert for our Easter lunch. I’m sorry that I couldn’t share this sooner, but these Daring Baker types are very secretive and only speak in code before the challenge. The deal this month was modification...change the recipe up so I made an orange cheesecake with a chocolate graham cracker crust and my most favorite topping for a cheese cake? Sour cream and a touch of sugar...it went perfectly with the chocolate orange flavor. And of course as it was Easter, I put those cute little Peeps around the top...they were a hit too!
P.S. I'm sorry the pictures aren't better...but I got all caught up with the Easter Bunny that day!
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I used chocolate graham crackers)
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature (I used 1/3 fat rather than full fat)
1 cup / 383 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice (I omitted this)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice (please see IAD notes at this point if you are going the orange flavor route), and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage (please see IAD notes at this point if you are going to make the sour cream topping). Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!
It’s All Delicious notes and recipe modifications:
For the sour cream topping:
Stir the sour cream, 1-tablespoon sugar and 1-teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Drop spoonfuls of sour cream topping on edges of cake, smooth evenly over entire cake. Return to oven and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and refrigerate over night.
Modification for step 3...For the Orange flavor –
At this point add the grated peel of two oranges and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. This will give it a lovely orange flavor that’s not over the top...it tastes like an orange cream-cicle from days gone by!