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A Step by Step Guide to Perfect Cheesecake

 

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Here is a step-by-step how-to guide for creating a simple, delicious and creamy Cheesecake:

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Step 1: Gather materials

  • 1 – 8 inch spring form pan (a round pan with high, straight sides, about 2.5 to 3 inches high. The bottom of the pan can be removed from the sides when the clamp is released. )
  • Hand Wisk or electric mixer
  • Rolling pin
  • Crust Ingredients
    1 cup graham cracker crumbs (Pulse whole Graham crackers in a food processor to make crumbs)*
    ¼ cup sugar
    ¼ cup butter, melted
  • Cheese Filling
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened**
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon of baking powder
    ¼ cup of milk
    1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Step 2: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Step 3: Make the Crust

Pour the melted butter and sugar over the graham cracker crumbs and mix them together well. Then use a roller and roll it flat. Butter an 8 inch baking pan and even out the crust mixture on the baking pan by pressing it down and to the sides to form the crust for the cheesecake.

Step 4: Bake the Crust

Bake the crust base in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.

Step 5 : Make the Cheese Filling

Add the sugar to the cream cheese in a mixing bowl, then using a hand whisk or an electric mixer blend the ingredients together until the mixture is well combined. One at a time break the eggs into the mixing bowl and gradually stir them in.

Finally, add in the milk and baking powder and stir well.

Step 6: Add the cheese filling to the baking pan

Pour the mixture over the prepared crust and even it out by giving it a little shake.

Step 7: Bake

Place the tin in the center of the oven and bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes at 350°F.

Step 8: Remove from the oven and chill

Take the cheesecake out of the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool down gently (see tip below). Then put it in the fridge keeping it in its baking pan and let it chill overnight.

Tip – A well-baked cheesecake will be puffed around the edges. When shaken, about an inch in diameter in the center should jiggle like custard would. There should not be any wet or liquid spots in the center.

Step 9: Serve

Take the cheesecake out of the fridge and gently release from spring form pan. If you did not use a spring form pan run a knife around the edges to help release it. Then, gently ease it out. Slice it up with a warmed knife. You can warm the knife with hot water and dry it. Repeat each cut with warmed knife, and you will get a clean cut of cheesecake.

Optional cheesecake toppings

Cherry pie filling

Your favorite fresh fruit

Cooked Strawberry Topping: Using 1 pint of strawberries, cleaned and Stemmed, cut about 1/3 in half.  In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender, puree about 1/3 of sauce, then mix back into remainder. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve, then pour over cheesecake.

*I have found that many graham crackers contain partially hydrogenated oils, to avoid this “ingredient” look for Health Valley or New Morning Brand Graham Crackers .Also, Arrowhead Mills makes a good quality pre made graham cracker pie crust.

**The cream cheese must be softened before mixing. If you cannot wait for it to soften at room temperature, you can soften the cream cheese in the microwave oven. Unwrap the cream cheese and scoop it out to a microwavable bowl. Microwave it on high temperature for 15 seconds. Add another 15 seconds for each additional bar of cream cheese.

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About Jennifer Goren

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Director of Culinary Arts at the JCC in Manhattan. Jennifer Goren is a proud graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health’s Chef Training Program. Her expertise focuses on health supportive cooking methods using whole foods and converting any recipe into a healthy and scrumptious alternative, while placing emphasis on nutrition and the connection between food and its healing properties. She’s enjoyed teaching healthy cooking to teenagers at NYC’s Hamilton Madison House, conducted lectures here as well as abroad, and catered for both private and corporate clients through her small business “The Zen Gourmet.” Jennifer is passionate about tasting and teaching all types of cuisine, and is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of Culinary Arts Programming , as well as inspiring new class trends!

 

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