Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

On Christmas Eve night, we ate this beautiful cheesecake, the 12 of us who were gathered for dinner at my house.

But we also ate miniature brownie hot fudge sundaes.
I must not also forget the Lemon Bundt Cake.
And this was after a satisfying dinner of bruschetta, green salad, lasagna, and fettucini alfredo.
Even for the champion eaters in my Italian family, this is a mountain of delicious food.
And this is why my tall and creamy cheesecake measures only 5 inches across. Knowing that something gigantically tremendous wouldn't be necessary, I scaled down Dorie Greenspan's recipe to fit into a 5 inch springform pan. (You can make cheesecake in just about anything-paperlined muffin cups, pie plates, ramekins, loaf pans, 9 by 13 baking dishes. ) The cheesecake was exactly as Dorie described it, "big, beautiful, lush and creamy." In fact, it's the most delicious cheesecake I've ever eaten, with just the perfect amount of sweetness and the smoothest texture. Dorie's advice to beat the batter "vigorously until satiny," is the key to meltingly smooth cheesecake. Here's my scaled-down version.
Money Saving Tips: This is the best time of year to buy cream cheese, with many stores offering 8 ounce blocks for $1 each. I look for late expiration dates on the packages and stock my fridge.
Tall and Creamy 5 inch Cheesecake
Scaled Down and Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Recipe
Estimated Cost: $4.50 if you can get a good deal on the cream cheese
Notes: Dorie recommends a waterbath, but I skipped that step out of sheer laziness.
For Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
For Cheesecake:
1 8 ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
berries or fruit for serving
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To make crust, combine crumbs, butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Press up the sides of a 5 inch springform pan, or into 3 or 4 little custard cups. Prebake crust for about 7 minutes. Cool completely and store in freezer. (Can be done weeks in advance.) In a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat for one minute. Scrape down mixer with spatula and check to make sure there are no lumps. Beat until completely smooth. With mixer on low, add sour cream, lemon juice and zest and vanilla. Pour into crust and bake for 30-45 minutes at 325 degrees. (I test the cheesecake for doneness by tapping the outside of the pan. When only the middle 2 inches jiggle, I'll remove it from the oven. OR if the cheesecake has a crack, I'll take it out right away. The crack will usually close back up as the cheesecake cools down.) Cool cheesecake completely and store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with fruit.
Coming Tomorrow:
Easy Appetizer for New Year's

51 comments:

chocolatechic said...

Oh...it looks wonderful.

gigi said...

You know I've only made real cheesecake once and it was years ago. After reading this I think it's time to try again. You do make it sound so easy and so good. It's my Harrison's favorite cake. He could eat it for every meal.

Steph said...

Christmas eve dinner sounds wonderful with all that yummy food! I usually buy my cream cheese on sale too and store them in the freezer. The only thing is, I have to use the food processor to get it creamy..not sure if the stand mixer will do the trick because frozen cream cheese turns grainy.

Prudy said...

Steph:
I have never put cream cheese in the freezer! Thanks for the tip.

ostwestwind said...

Truly a beautiful cheesecake

Best wishes for 2009!

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Allie said...

I'll be at your house next year! I freeze cream cheese as well and it works out great. All you food looks so wonderful!

Lady Baker said...

wow, yours is tall, creamy AND DREAMY!! It looks amazing!!

Mary Ann said...

How smart of you to make a smaller one. I should have done that too! It looks lovely and I want to thank you for mentioning that you were not doing the waterbath because then I felt ok about skipping it as well! Can't wait to see the appetizers!

Darius T. Williams said...

Oh yea - this looks amazing!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I an a fool for cheesecake. I would skip the water bath too. I've tried it before and no matter what the crust became soggy. It's amazes me how much the cheese cake rose.

Amanda said...

I loved this recipe too, love how yours is so tall with the five inch pan!

VeggieGirl said...

What a scrumptious ending to a dinner party!! Great work on this week's TWD challenge, as always.

Michal said...

i must say that i love using a waterbath on my cheesecakes because they come out perfectly flat every time. yours seemed to be perfect with out it, but mine often gets a bit higher on the edges without the water bath.
i want to eat that cheesecake for breakfast right now. yum.

Jodie said...

haha, I love that list of food you ate. Nothing like the holidays!

Anne said...

You're a smart girl to scale it down! It looks like the rest of the food was wonderful, too. I hope you guys had a great Christmas!

Karen said...

I love the scaled down version and the crumbs on the side. It looks delicious!

Josh said...

The cheesecake looks fantastic! I love how tall it is! Happy New Year to you and your family!

Lainee said...

The cheesecake is the perfect size! It looks SO GOOD! I will have to make it, my family LOVES cheesecake!

Thanks for sharing your tips with all of us, Happy New Year!

jenjen said...

Mmmm, delicious!!!!

Prudent Homemaker said...

I think of the expiration date for cream cheese as a "besy by" but not a "throw out by". I have found that it is good long past the date if it hasn't been opened.

Prudent Homemaker said...

Oh, and I love the size! My husband doesn't like cheesecake (maybe if I made a chocolate one he would change his mind). A little cheesecake all for me. . . .

(Oh, you say it's big enough to share? Do I have to? :) Well, then, the children will help me eat it.)

Peggy said...

Yum, it looks delicious!! Happy New Year!

Jamie said...

So cute, I love mini baked goods!

April said...

All those desserts look completely delectable. Love the little cheesecake!

Mandi (a.k.a MissMandiGirl) said...

I've never made cheesecake before :-O I should do that because I LOVE it :)

Pam said...

I am definitely going to have to try this one! Everyone says that it's great!

vibi said...

WOW! A crust all the way up to the top, just like in those New York Jewish pastry windows! It looks so perfect, it's almost unreal!
Bravo, Prudy!

PheMom said...

It looks beautiful! Happy Holidays to you nd yours!

Anonymous said...

Prudy, your entire Christmas Eve spread looks (and sounds) incredible! I LOVE your 5" cutie and am thrilled to have that scaled down recipe. Glad to know that the water bath is skippable too - that whole process scared the daylights out of me!

Cathy said...

Prudy, sorry, that last "anonymous" comment is from me. I'm trying to do this from a seminar on my blackberry (bad girl!) and all that technology is whooping me.

Christine said...

I try to stock up on cream cheese whenever it is on sale and then freeze it! Your cheesecake looks delicious and so does all the other food!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

All your desserts are wonderful, I would have pigged out too! The bundt cake looks so perfect, that it looks almost unreal!

Engineer Baker said...

All of those desserts look awesome! I love that the crust goes all the way up the cheesecake though - it's probably my favorite part of cheesecake.

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your cheesecake looks awesome!

TeaLady said...

Looks delicious. And it looks bigger than a mini. Yummy!!

And those other deserts look wonderful.

rainbowbrown said...

Sounds like an absolute feast. Wonderful job!

Pamela said...

Sounds like a great party! The cheesecake looks wonderful, but so do those mini brownie sundaes! Great idea.

Di said...

Wow, that's a tasty selection of desserts. And Italian food. I want to have Christmas Eve dinner at your house. =)

The Blonde Duck said...

Your family holidays sound like so much fun! I'd love to be around a big bustling family. I think it would just be so fantastic.

And I love the cheesecake! I'm a cheesecake fiend. It's sad.

n.o.e said...

Prudy, I want to come to your house for Christmas Eve dinner - you might even have to go to a 6" cheesecake. I will skip the water bath next time because it really treated me poorly. Love the cheesecake anyway, and yours is stately even at a reduced diameter.
Nancy

Amy said...

Wow- this looks amazing! As well as all those other fantastic looking desserts!! Looks like you and yours had a very sweet Christmas Eve!

-Amy
www.singforyoursupperblog.com

Melissa said...

Your mini cheesecake looks gorgeous, Prudy!

Jacque said...

MmMmm, that sounds like some kind of wonderful feast!

Your cheesecake is so small and perfect. Nice work :)

I have heard that cream cheese, unopened, is actually good 3 months beyond it's expiration date. I have used "old" cream cheese and it was perfect. I wish I could remember where I heard that... it was what I thought to be a reliable source.

The Food Librarian said...

Everything looks fantastic!! What a wonderful holiday dinner! Happy Happy New year to you and your family - wishing you the best year ever! mary the food librarian

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Your cheesecake is a real pro. I love the crumbles around the sides and the scaled down size.

Marie said...

ohh, such a wonderfully tasty looking lot of desserts! Well done Erin! I am in awe of you!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

nice dessert spread you had there! the cheesecake looks super tall and good! happy new year!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Your cheesecake looks totally scrumptious!! The recipe timing was perfect!

AmyRuth said...

I wish i had scaled down too. Instead I had all this wondorieful cheesecake that unless I wanted to wear it I had to share it..... he he he Thanks for the tips on how to scale it. Beautiful Christmas posts as well, Prudy
happy 2009 and I look forward to reading with you then.
AmyRuth

Jerri - Simply Sweet Home said...

Wow! That looks so yummy!

VeggieGirl said...

Lovely!!