My First Cheesecake

My First Cheesecake

I made my very first cheesecake a couple of weeks ago.

I have been wanting to do this for a while but to be honest I had read so many posts and recipes that made it sound VERY technical and a lot of work, often with poor results I had been putting it off.

However we had friends coming for dinner, left over pumpkin puree in the freezer and I was feeling brave!

I turned to a usually reliable ‘friend’, Martha Stewart for a recipe. I have my issues with the woman, and I was very irritated by what she said about bloggers last year but I must admit I have found most of the recipes on her site to be a great starting point, especially when I haven’t cooked or baked something before. However, this particular recipe was a DISASTER! The directions were poorly written, the comments were all over the place with some people saying they made this exact recipe and it was perfect right through to total disaster cheesecakes….I was freaking out!

We did end up with the most delicious pumpkin cheesecake I have ever eaten….and I am not even exaggerating!

It was rich, yet light, creamy, very pumpkin-y, not too sweet, a hint of pumpkin spice (it’s a shame it was February – it was the perfect Fall dessert!) It was so so good…and I actually made it!

Here it is in all it’s glory……….

My First Cheesecake

That however, is not the end of the story! Let me tell you all about it so you can learn from my mistakes!

Note that I said it TASTED good! It did! It really did!

Unfortunately, it looked like this………………. 

Cheesecake Grand Canyon

Which gained it the nickname “The Grand Canyon Dessert”

Well I still had to serve it to my friends not knowing how it actually tasted so I needed a good comedy spin when I placed this in the table after our wonderful main course!

Yes it did what I feared most…..split, well more like created a cavern, right in the middle of the cheesecake! Like many of the comments and recipes I had read and feared, it happened to me! Why? I have no idea.  Will it happen next time? Probably! Could I serve this to anyone other than close friends….yes because I am not that proud and taste is way more important than the final look, right?

So the reasons this recipe made it to the blog are varied:

1) This proves I fail in the kitchen (just in case you thought I was a genius who always got it right LOL!)

2) So you can learn from my mistakes

3) You can comment below and help me figure out what I did wrong?? HELP ME!!

4) So I have a record of this recipe because I WILL be making it again because it was that delicious! Hopefully next time without the ‘Grand Canyon effects”

So tell me recipe, cooking, dessert, cheesecake genius friends out there….what did I do wrong and how can I make it better next time??

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Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST

1 1/4 C graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)

1/4 C sugar

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING

4 x 8 oz packages of cream cheese, very soft

1 1/4 C sugar

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 C  pumpkin puree

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

Directions:

Make sure you read the note at the bottom of this page, I followed these instructions but had to seriously adapt them at the cooking stage!

Preheat oven to 350°F, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.

Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened

My First Cheesecake

Press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.

My First Cheesecake

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth

Add flour,  pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Do not overmix.

My First Cheesecake

My First Cheesecake

Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next, use a hand whisk NOT an electric at this stage.

My First Cheesecake

These were the cooking directions: Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into the pan. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300°F. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).

Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving.

What I actually did:

Baked it for 45 minutes at 300°F. Turned off the oven and left it for 2 hours.  It was totally raw in the middle, so I re-baked it for another 15 minutes at 300°F, it was still uncooked, so I reduced the heat to 200°F and cooked it for another 20 minutes.  Then turned off the oven and left the cheesecake in for another 2 hours.

I think this is why it cracked as I had to keep opening the oven to check if it was cooked! It was still not cracked at all after I finished baking it – but when I went back 2 hours later it was like the Grand Canyon!!

I did allow the cheesecake to cool fully BEFORE putting it in the refrigerator. 

My First Cheesecake

Removing it from the mold is yet another skill I am clearly yet to acquire…..does anyone have any tips for me??

My First Cheesecake

7 thoughts on “My First Cheesecake

  1. Agos says:

    Crack or not, it looks very yummy! I don’t know why it could have cracked since you followed all the non-cracking guidelines. Maybe try a water bath next time? Oh, and I never even tried removing the cake from the bottom of the mold! I don’t know how people do it lol.

    Like

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