Health & Medical Eating & Food

Your Illustrated Guide to a Perfect Homemade Cheesecake

Step One - Making the Crust

Most cheesecake recipes call for a cookie crumb crust. You may either purchase the crumbs or make your own. I prefer to use the food processor to turn my cookies into crumbs. While the cookies are processing, I'll drizzle my melted butter into the bowl. This way the machine will do the work in combining the butter and crumbs.

When I don't feel like cleaning the food processor, I'll put my cookies into a resealable plastic bag and push out the air when sealing the bag.

I use a rolling pin and roll it over the cookies in the bag to make the crumbs.

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Step Two - Put Crust in Pan

The cookie crumbs mixture needs to be pressed into the cheesecake pan. You could use a fork, but I much prefer to use my hand(s).

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Step Three - Cream Cheese

Early in the day, I'll place my cream cheese in my stand mixer bowl and cover it with the lid. I'll leave it out on the counter until I'm ready to make my cheesecake. Once I'm ready, I'll begin by beating my cream cheese by itself.

Don't have the time to wait for your cream cheese to soften? (Check-out these tips for softening cream cheese in the microwave.)

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Step Four - AddingSugar

After creaming the cream cheese, this is the step where I'll add the sugar. I slowly pour it in while the machine is running. If your using a hand mixer, add a little of the sugar at a time and combine.

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Step Five - More Ingredients

This particular recipe calls for chocolate, so I added it in this step. Your extracts are also added here.

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Step Six - Adding the Eggs

Of course, not all recipes are the same, but most of them will have you add your eggs at this step. Always, add one egg at a time. Mix completely before adding the next egg.

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Step Seven - Scrape Bowl

More than once during the process of making a cheesecake, you'll need to scrape down your bowl. Don't forget to scrape the beaters down as well. This way you won't end-up with a lumpy cheesecake.

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Step Eight - Batter in Pan

Carefully, pour or scrape your batter into the cheesecake pan. Once the batter is in the pan, use a rubber spatula to smooth the top.

Place the pan into a preheated oven. Bake for the amount specified in the recipe.

Please note: Many people will tell you to place your pan in the oven with a pan full of water. Many feel the steam will help lessen the chance of getting cracks in the cheesecake. I never bother with this step.

Usually, once the cheesecake has cooled the cracks have disappeared. If they don't I'll either cover them up with a topping or once the cake is cut, they aren't noticeable.

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Once the cheesecake is removed from the oven, allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Use a knife to go around the pan to loosen the cake from the pan. Place the completely cooled cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Don't remove the sides until the cheesecake is cold.

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Cheesecake is best served cold. I like mine topped with whipped cream and/or some seasonal fruit. It's good plain, too.

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