Monday, April 27, 2009

Cheese cakes extravaganza

Pina Colada and Chocolate cheese Cakes

My friend asked me couple of weeks ago, if I can bake her a special cream cheese cake.
She knew that I've been waiting for a special occasion to try Anna Olson's Caramelized Banana Cheese Cake with Caramel Topping, the cake requires at least 2 pounds of cream cheese, it's way too much for two persons to eat...It needs big group in a special occasion!!!
She teased me laughing why don't you make me that cake you've been waiting to try for some time; I need it for the 4Th of May - for my next book club gathering... and guess what??
The Daring Bakers April Challenge is a Cream Cheese Cake, hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge, leaving the option open for our own flavours and decorations. Since I was going to bake my friend the Caramelized Banana Cake next Sunday. I choose three new flavours for the cheesecake challenge, using a basic recipe then added my three flavours each with different crust.

A) For the dough, I used chocolate cookie dough and added dark chocolate to the basic recipe for a chocolate cheese cake flavour.

B) For the dough, I used ginger macadamia cookie dough, and for the cake I added fresh chopped mango, pineapples, coconuts and rum, and lime juice to get Pina Colada flavour
i didnt use the heavy cream.

C) for the dough I used graham crackers with nuts and added mixed frozen berries (from my garden)for a berry flavour I baked the cakes in ramekins, in a hot water bath...

the flavours were excellent, we had a hard time picking the one ...I did have some problem unmolding the berry cake, So I served the cake in the ramekin..

What I changed I used half of the amount of sugar, I wanted to taste the flavours I am adding , also I didn't use the heavy cream to balance with the ingredients I am using .

This is the original recipe from JennyAbbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
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
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp.vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
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, and alcohol 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. 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!

Some variations from the recipe creator:**
Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)**

Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).**

Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.**

Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, and then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Note : for a dry bottom cheese cake, add a parchment paper over the bottom of a springform pan, bigger than the circle, after close the sides cut the extra papers from underneath, this will secure no water getting into your cake , also use a wide foil paper and higher than your pan, wrap it around the cake and tuck the extra around the edge to make a thick rim. Bake the crust 10 minutes before adding your cheese mixture.

My husband was not happy when I decorated the Pina Colada cake and left the chocolate; I had to give it a new face lift!!!!

Absolutely delicious.....


Anonymous said...

Hello Arlette
I was reading your delicious maamoul recipe, when you posted this delicious creamcheese cakes
I love your blog and the food, and the photos...
thank you very much

Julia @ Mélanger said...

I love these individual cheesecakes. Very creative. So good that you could turn a DB challenge into a something for a friend! :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

These cheesecakelets look delicious and very pretty! Well done!



Elissa said...

Those chocolate swirls look divine! They're pretty, but I bet the ganache on top added quite a bit in the taste area... mmm!

Rachel said...

love that flavours. Great job on the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Arlette, every single cheesecake you made looks simply divine! I love how you incorporated pomegranate into one - and I will be hounding you for pomegranate recipes when they come into season here! :)

Barbara Bakes said...

Great little cheesecakes - such yummy combinations!

Chahira Daoud said...

Great job ya arlette !!
Looks soooo yummy !!
Send me some,,Hahaha
wonderful cakes as usual !!

Katie said...

All your cheesecake creations look wonderful. I want to eat them all!

Zita said...

Berries from your own garden? That must have add extra delicious taste to your cheese cake :)

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Love your flavour combinations Arlette, very very nice indeed! WOW!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that Pina Colada flavour sounds fantastic, they look great too. Well done! I have soooo many new recipes I now want to make!

Arlette said...

Hello every one

Thank you very much for your sweet comments,
every one did a great job in this challenge.

Lauren said...

Mmm, your cheesecakes look amazing!! Awesome job on this challenge =D.

ice tea: sugar high said...

The pina colada sounded interesting! Well done

Audax said...

Bravo on a fabulous effort they look so smashing Pina Colada and Chocolate and berries love the flavours. Thanks for the nice comments on my blog. Yours Audax from Australia

Jeanine said...

Oh to pick a favorite? That seems like having to pick a favorite child, it's just not going to happen. Each cake looks like it has special things about it. Fantastic job!

Arlette said...

Thank you Ladies for your sweet and lovely comments!!!
great job every one

Jess said...

Pina Colada Cheesecake and Chocolate sound SO good! WOW! They are really gorgeous too.

Connie Weiss said...

I'm loving all of the flavors that everyone has used for the cheesecake!

Great job!

Anneliese said...

Hello! Your photos are beautiful!
I was thinking about your question regarding the almond puff pastry. I've never frozen them unbaked, but I suppose you could try it. I might try it next time. I have baked them and then frozen them. When you thaw them they should not be in a sealed container, so they stay crispy.
I still think they are best fresh. Let me know how it works for you.

Jenny said...

What a creative trio of cheesecakes! They all sound divine, but I'd head straight for the chocolate. Thanks for being a part of this month's challenge!

Jenny of JennyBakes

Anneliese said...

That is funny about your yeast dough - but it will most like be okay. If you've done this before, you know what you're doing. I've only frozen yeast dough once and it didn't work out that well for me. (sorry to answer your question here . .. you can delete it bec it won't make sense to anyone else.)

TeaLady said...

Those cheese cakes look delicious. And so many great varieties. Yummy!!1

And yes, we do think alike on the Pina Colada. Thanks for coming by. And I am not in Canada, I am in Louisiana, USA>


looks like a nice snack and I can eat a whole cheese cake without feeling bad since they are so small.

Laila said...

Looks delicious .. nicely done .. love the photos .. Laila ..

Elra said...

These are adorable cheesecakes. How beautiful!

Jenny Tan said...

Wow, they all look really delicious! :) May I have the berry cheesecake pls?! :)

sangeeta said...

first time here.........this is wonderful, the recipes , the blog, the photos n all............i'll keep coming.