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Rethinking cheesecake: Try a new method to make an old favorite

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Cheesecake may be a common dessert, but it certainly doesn't have to be boring, Creamy, rich and oh, so satisfying, it's frequently found on restaurant menus. Is there a secret to making a cheesecake that it ultra-smooth with a light, velvety texture? Yes!

If you have ever baked a cheesecake before, you're familiar with a spring-form pan - those pans that lock on the sides so that they can be separated from the bottom of the pan easily. Although they are adequate, they can leak. This can be especially problematic if you bake your cheesecake in a water bath or bain-marie, which is one of the secrets to that unctuous texture that we all love.

So what's the remedy, you may ask? Believe it or not, the answer is so simple, you probably already have it in your kitchen - a standard cake pan! That's right. If you line your pan with parchment paper and adequately chill your cheesecake before attempting to unmold, you will be rewarded with a perfect cheesecake that is less likely to crack because of the more gentle cooking process. That water bath makes a huge difference in the texture of the finished product.

Flavor your cheesecake however you wish. Start with this basic recipe and then build on it. Your family and friends will think you bought it at a high-end bakery. Once they know you did it yourself, the requests will be never ending.

Vanilla Cheesecake
Makes 10-12 servings

Crust:

  • 6 oz. graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients; mixing well.
  • Press into bottom of prepared pan; Sset aside.

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese. room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease an 8x3 inch cake pan. Line bottom of pan with a parchment circle and then lightly grease it too.
  2. In a mixer bowl combine cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, waiting until one disappears before adding the next.
  4. Blend in the cream and vanilla.
  5. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and tap lightly to release air bubbles.
  6. Place the pan in a roasting pan or other larger pan and add boiling water to halfway up he sides od the cake pan.
  7. Bake for an hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake is set in the middle.
  8. Remove pan from water bath and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  10. Top as desired.
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