Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge, April 2009: Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

If my camera was working you would be able to actually SEE this infamous cheesecake, but The Little One got hold of it and the lens is stuck in the partway open/partway closed position and it won't budge so there are no photos, AND I get to try and find someone local to fix it. (sigh) That being the case, you'll have to rely on my riveting narrative and incredibly descriptive descriptions to help you visualize this masterpiece.

I do love cheesecake. My grandmother passed along a recipe for Fire Island Cheesecake from the NY Times from back in the 50's and it's my go-to recipe. It was with some trepidation that I made Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake, because you don't mess with my grandmother. She's 93 and healthy as a horse - her short term (and increasingly her medium term) memory is shot because of Alzheimer's but she's a feisty one, that one is. She almost got into fisticuffs with her roommate at the nursing home over a sweater, so now she has a private room. (Yes, she's THAT little old lady) But enough about her for now... let's move on to the recipe, shall we?

I have a set of 3 springform pans - 8", 9" and 10" as well as 4 wee little pans that measure about 3" to 4" across. I debated using those, but since I just used them for February's challenge, I decided to go full size and pawn off the results to school, as sadly there is no cheesecake to be eaten in this house for some time to come. With the victims lucky recipients in mind, I set to work.

I decided to do a Kahlua flavor cheese cake: coffee liqueur in the batter and a little instant coffee mixed in with the graham cracker crumbs. I used about 2 tablespoons of the instant since I didn't want to overwhelm the flavor, but I was also hoping that it wouldn't be underwhelming either. I'm a bottom and little bit of the sides crust girl, so I extended it up about a 1/2 to 3/4 inch past the bottom. The batter came together flawlessly. Sooooo finger-licking good.

Grandma's recipe doesn't call for a waterbath, so I waffled: yes, no, yes, no, nes, yo. Do I have a pan big enough to hold both the water and the pan itself? Will my pan leak? It's not the way grandma did it.... In the end I decided to follow the directions (don't faint, it's not THAT unheard of for me) and did the waterbath but made sure that I wrapped the bottom tightly in foil - I had a blowout in that pan once with something too liquidy leaking out, so I assumed that the reverse would be true as well. Cooking was uneventful and I felt comforted knowing that both recipes have the cheesecake chilling out in the oven for an hour after the formal cooking process was over.

It was beautiful! All waxy looking on top, hiding that luscious interior, giving me that seductive "come hither" look.... I resisted temptation and took it away the next day to class. The kids were in CRCT testing (which I won't describe here but it's REALLY high pressure for both teachers and students) and they needed a small respite. My offering up to the testing gods was well received. The teachers were in Heaven over it and they went on and on about how wonderful it was. Ok, with feedback like that.... I had to taste a small piece. It WAS good - it was very creamy and stuck to the fork just like it's supposed to and it had a nice subtle coffee flavor. High marks all around.

Thanks to Jenny for selecting this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. You can find the complete recipe on her site. To see what all the other DBer’s did, you can find the blogroll here and if you’d like to join the monthly party, info about that can be found on that page as well.

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  1. I just love how you described the cake I can really imagine it in my mind, good to see your class/teachers liked it. Just love the photo of the child in your posting. Cheers from Australia Audax

  2. Your description and my imagination worked very well I must say.

    Isn't it great when you have happy unsuspecting victims to share calories with? ;-)

  3. It sounds like your cheesecake turned out great! I hope you're able to get your camera fixed soon.

  4. Ooh, I hope you are able to get your camera fixed. Coffee is so lovely with this cheesecake! Thanks for being a part of the challenge!

    Jenny of JennyBakes


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