Sunday, May 2, 2010

Two-bite New York Cheesecakes - week 18 of 52

I was at the Cheesecake Factory recently and have always wondered what makes their cheesecakes so tasty – after making this Cheesecake Factory inspired recipe, have decided there is only one thing that makes their cheesecakes so tasty – fat. Cream cheese (do not use the low fat type) and whipping cream give cheesecake it’s rich creamy texture!

I made the mini version vs an entire cheesecake – mini makes it cuter, easier to share, bite-sized and you can have more! I’ve included the original Ricardo Larrivée recipe – I halved the recipe and got approx 36 mini cheesecakes. Instead of strawberry topping, I used cherry pie filling. I also added a pinch of cinnamon & cloves to the crust to get a crust which tastes very similar to the Sara Lee frozen cheesecake crust.

Did you know? I learnt that cracks in cheesecakes are a common problem. Here are some tips from other baking blogs:
- Be careful not to open the oven door during the first 30 minutes of baking. Drafts can form cracks and make the cheesecake fall.

- Avoid over-baking which causes the cheesecake to crack. Be aware that baking times are not always exact, due to variations in ovens. Check for doneness at minimum baking time.

- large cheesecakes should always be baked in a water bath since the edges tend to overbake before the center of the cake has reached the temperature necessary to set--coagulate the eggs--to prevent cracking.

When I was making my mini-cheesecakes, I set the mini muffin pan on a cookie sheet and filled it with hot water to reach half-way on the cheesecakes. That trick seemed to work – no cracks on the cheesecake!

As well, when removed from the oven the cheesecake may seem soft in the center - don't worry! It will become firm as it chills.

I shared with friends and co-workers and these mini two-bite NY cheesecakes may be one of the favourites for sure!

Bonne appétit!

New York Cheesecake – courtesy of Ricardo Larrivée

1 cheesecake or approx 72 mini-cheesecakes



• 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1/4 cup melted butter
• Aluminum foil, 46 cm (18 inches) wide

Cream Cheese Filling
• 4 Container (250 g/8 oz each) cream cheese, at room temperature
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 cup 35% cream
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Strawberry Topping
• 4 cups whole fresh strawberries, hulled
• 1/2 teaspoon gelatin
• 1 tablespoon cold water
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice


1. In a bowl, combine the ingredients. Press lightly into the bottom of a 20cm (8-inch) springform pan. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool.
2. Wrap the outside (bottom and sides) of the springform pan with aluminum foil, making sure it’s watertight.
3. Turn the oven temperature down to 170°C (325°F).

Cream Cheese Filling

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour onto the crust.
2. Prepare a bain-marie: Place the springform pan in a large baking dish. Fill the baking dish with boiling water until it comes halfway up the side of the pan.
3. Bake in the middle of the oven until the filling is set at the edges but the centre trembles slightly when shaken, about 70 minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the cake inside with the door slightly ajar for 1 hour. Remove the pan from the bain-marie. Remove the foil from the pan. Run a thin knife around the inside edge of the pan. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours.

Strawberry Topping
1. Quarter 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the strawberries. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on the water and let it soften for 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, bring the quartered strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to a boil while stirring. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain; you should have about 125 ml (1/2 cup) of strawberry syrup. Discard the cooked strawberries. Add the gelatin to the hot syrup and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until the syrup thickens, about 30 minutes.
4. Arrange the whole strawberries, points facing up, on the top of the cake. Brush the berries with the syrup to glaze them.

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