PERFECT CHEESECAKE ~ BAKING PARTNER’S CHALLENGE #9

We had many scrumptious choices this month – too many – hard to choose just one. It was a beautiful and classic cheesecake, tangy and sweet, with a velvety smooth and rich texture.I added my homemade caramel sauce and served it for Easter.
Perfect Cheesecake.jpg
adapted from Perfect Cheesecake by Simply recipes for Baking Partners GROUP

Crust
2 cups of Graham cracker crumbs (I used a combo of ginger snaps and vanilla wafers)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt), melted

Filling
32 ounces cream cheese at room temperature and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of Sea salt
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla
4 large eggs
2/3 cup regular sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Topping – I omitted to help cut down on the cholesterol since I was adding the caramel sauce
2 cups regular sour cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

CRUST PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place a 9 inch spring form pan on a large sheet of heavy duty foil.  Smooth foil up the sides rolling at the top edge.  You are basically making your pan water proof.
  • Grind the graham crackers and/or ginger snaps in a food processor until finely ground.
  • In a large bowl stir together the crackers, sugar and salt. With your hands blend in the melted butter until you have a uniform consistency.
  • Press the cracker crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of your prepared springform pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

FILLING PREPARATION

  • Cream the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and beat for a few minutes more.
  • Add the salt and vanilla, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Add the sour cream, beating until well blended.
  • Add the heavy cream, beating until well blended.
  • Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl scraping up any thicker bits of cream cheese that has stuck to the sides or bottom.

BAKING

  • Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan.
  • Pour about 2 quarts of boiling water around the pan.
  • Pour the prepared cream cheese filling into the springform pan over the cracker crust.
  • Smooth the filling level.
  • Bake on the lower rack of your oven.
  • Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan creating a water bath for the cheesecake. Pour enough water to reach halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Turn off the oven.
  • Crack open the oven door 1-inch or so, and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. Slow cooling this way helps prevent cracking in the cheesecake.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and discard the foil.
  • With a fresh piece of foil, tent the cheesecake so that the foil doesn’t actually touch the cheesecake.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

TOPPING PREPARATION

  • In a large mixing bowl cream together the sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, until well blended.
  • Chill topping mixture until you are ready to serve the cake.

PREPARE THE CAKE FOR SERVING

  • Run a table knife around the inside edge of the spring form pan to release anything that might have stuck during baking.
  • Remove outer pan ring.
  • Spread the sour cream topping evenly on cheesecake.
  • Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.
  • Enjoy.

CARAMEL SAUCE
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2+ tablespoons water

  • Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium saucepan cook the corn syrup over a medium heat until bubbly.
  • Fold in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to cook until the edges begin to turn a light amber color.
  • Add in 1/4 cup sugar more and repeat until all the sugar is blended in.
  • Continue cooking until amber color darkens stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully fold in the cream mixture.
  • Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until caramel is bubbling.
  • Serve warm.

Makes 1 1/2 cups. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: Microwave20-30 seconds to soften refrigerated caramel before serving.



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POP TART BISCUITS

Pop tartsPASTRY
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg + 1 egg beaten for brushing
2 tablespoons milk

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Work in the cold cubes of butter with your fingers until the dough is the size of peas and holds together when you squeeze it.
  • Whisk together the egg and milk until well blended.
  • Add to dough.
  • Mix together until everything is evenly moistened.
  • Knead on a floured surface until dough comes together evenly.

FILLING
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
cinnamon sugar
Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Set aside.

  • Divide the dough in half.*
  • Roll out first half of dough.
  • You can either cut it into rectangles or use a biscuit cutter for uniform size.
  • Place each piece on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Brush each piece with beaten egg.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each piece.
  • Roll out second ball of dough and cut “tops” for each tart.
  • Crimp the edges of each tart.
  • Prick the tops of each tart with a fork to allow steam to escape.
  • Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove the pan from the oven.
  • Brush tops with melted butter.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  • Cool before serving.

*Dough can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for a few days. If you do refrigerate it, bring it to room temperature before rolling out.

Tasty Tuesday is hosted by Jen over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed with Grace.
Cooking Thursday is hosted by Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.
Weekend Cooking Creations is hosted by Jennifer.

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