May you be blessed with warmth in your home, love in your heart, peace in your soul and joy in your life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Feet first!

After browsing the blog world for the past 6 months or so, I have finally decided to try out my own. I'm sure at first that it will lack the focus that some of my favorites have, but no one ever succeeded with trying first. So, we'll see what happens here. I have friends that have started their own blogs about scrapbooking and cooking, and I like both of those. I'm a much better cook than I am a scrapbooker. So, you'll see many more posts about cooking and baking from me than you will about scrapbooking and papercrafting. 
So, for my first post....

I thought I would pass along my first attempt at cheesecake. I have always been intimidated by cheesecake. The whole water bath idea petrified me. Seriously! You expect me to put a pan that the bottom comes out of into a pan full of water? I don't care if you wrap it in foil! That can't work!  Well, it does work. And this cheesecake turned out amazing. This was my husband's request for his birthday cake. He isn't the biggest fan of cake, and most certainly is not a frosting fan. So I shouldn't have been surprised at this request. 

This recipe is based off a copycat recipe for the Cheesecake Factory Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. But my brother and his fiancee were nice enough to pick me up a jar of vanilla bean paste that I have absolutely fallen in love with, so that was one of the changes that I made. 
  Birthday Cheesecake

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prep springform pan by putting pan together and wrapping with a double layer of aluminum foil. Begin to prep water bath by heating kettle full of water to boiling and getting out baking pan. I was able to use a 9 x 13 pan for my springform pan. 

In medium bowl, mix together crust ingredients until well blended (should resemble wet sand). Pour into springform pan. Using a spoon or back of measuring cup, press crumbs into even layer covering bottom of pan and approximately an inch up the sides.  Place pan into heated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until set and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. 

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. A stand mixer is great for this part. Slowly add sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. After blended, add flour and vanilla bean paste and mix thoroughly.  Add the eggs and heavy cream and mix well. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Place pan into empty baking pan and center in oven. Pour hot water around the springform pan. Be sure to avoid pouring over the foil wrapping. Bake for 55-70 minutes until edges are set but center is still slightly soft and wiggly. Remove baking pan from oven. Cool for 15 minutes in water bath, then remove and cool in pan for at least an hour. Place into refrigerator for at least 6 hours. It's better if you can leave it overnight (allows the flavors to blend).  

 When ready to serve, remove outer ring from pan and slice evenly. I use a heated knife. Can serve with any desired toppings. 

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