Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, topped with cherries glaze



I made this recipe for my brother-in-law on his birthday. It is a very simple recipe, even when you read the word Cheesecake!


Ingredients:

- For the crust:

1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg


- For the Cheesecake:

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 and the innards of a vanilla bean
1 Tbsp. Rum, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (*)
1 Tbsp. flour (*)


- For the Cherry glaze:

1 or 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) tart cherries in water, or 1 quart fresh or frozen fruit
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 drops red food coloring (optional)





Directions:


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan.

For the crust: In a mixing bowl with a paddle, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Mix until the mixture is crumbly, then add the egg and continue to mix until a soft dough forms.

Press the dough on the bottom and an inch up the sides of the prepared pan; dock with a fork, and bake for 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

For the cheesecake: One hour before you star making the cheesecake, put the vanilla bean with the sugar and let it sit covered until you are ready to mix ingredients.

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, vanilla bean innards, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy. Mix until well combined.

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.

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. If you have an instant reading thermometer the temperature should be 175ยบ. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. (I left a kitchen towel to prevent a complete closing of the oven door). 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 decorate.

For the glaze: Whisk together the water, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan until the cornstarch dissolves. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils, becomes clear, and thickens.

Remove from the heat and add the food coloring and the drained cherries. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then spoon it over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate the cake until you're ready to serve.

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