Updated 2010-12-28 19:22:27 ID=637:0

© 2010 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan McGourty's Table Talk, a California Central Coast Lifestyle blog. 2011-06-09 16:33:16:80
©2008 The Romantic Table

Susan McGourty's Table Talk

Fear and Trembling Over Cheesecake

I used to dread making my New York Style Cheesecake, but I'm beginning to "grock it" and have come up with some basic understandings --and tips-- to make it a more successful endeavor.

Up until this Christmas I lived in "FEAR" of making my ultimate dessert: New York Style Cheesecake for a couple of reasons. See last year's blog: Stressing-out Over the Holidays .

First of all its high calorie content. --I just look at it and I swear, I gain at least a half-pound! The cheesecake's ingredients are enough to make a dietitian or cardiologist's head swirl: a half-pound butter, a pound of cottage cheese, a pound of cream cheese, a pound of sour cream, six eggs, not to mention the butter and graham cracker crust, sugar, lemons and vanilla! My God! This cake is almost lethal! BUT! It's so-o-o good!!!

And it's such a challenge to make, bake and cool without getting the all-too -often "crack" in the top of the cake as it cools.

©2010 The Romantic Table, New York Style Cheese Cake 2010-12-27 16:40:52:275
©2010 The Romantic Table

New York Style Cheese Cake is such a challenge to make, bake and cool without getting the all-too -often "crack" in the top of the cake as it cools.
As some of you know, this past summer we remodeled our kitchen-including replacing my very old double ovens (1970's vintage) with new ones. But I had yet to bake anything like a cheesecake in my new ovens, and the stress level this year for this Christmas' cheesecake was getting higher and higher each day closer to making the dreaded cake. It was anybody's guess on how it would turn out.

So this year, I prepared to make my cheesecake just like a football player goes over his game-plan with the coach beforehand. I thought back to everything that I had gleaned over the years from making them and had learned from various cheesecake recipes on the do's and don'ts.

Here they are in a nutshell:

1.) All ingredients should be at room temperature. -I set them out overnight.

2.) You need to break-down the cottage cheese first with a food processor BUT don't over-do it! It's better to have a few "bumps" in the cottage cheese than too much air.

3.) After you've smoothed-out the majority of the cottage cheese, add the cream cheese to the food processor and mix thoroughly but do not over-mix, adding too much air.

4.) After combining all ingredients, carefully pour them in your spring-form pan that has the (already baked) graham cracker crust in it with a collar around it made from a paper grocery bag.

5.) Place the cheesecake a third of the way up in your oven, placing a round pie pan, filled with hot water directly below and under the rack that's got the cheesecake on. This slows the heating and cooling of the cheesecake and prevents cracks.

6.) When the cheesecake is "just set", turn off the oven, and open the oven door for a minute or so, to release some of the hot air. For a while, the cake will continue to cook and set, so you don't want to over-cook it.

7.) Close the door, with the oven OFF and let the oven and cake cool slowly at least two hours.

8.) After at least two hours and when the cake is just "very warm" to the touch, it's safe to remove from the oven and let set on a wire rack in your kitchen to finish cooling off.

9.) Refrigerate over-night and preferably a day or two to let "cure" before serving.

Another thing I've learned over the many years of making this "Primi donna cake" is the less you fuss over it, the better. It requires attention and several extra steps, but it is worth it and you should take it in stride and "make peace with it" as I did (FINALLY!) this year! --In fact, I'm taking it "so much in stride" I'm making another one for New Years! God Help ME!

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A tip from Sue!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds when you get through with a brick of Parmesan cheese! They can be used to flavor soups deliciously. Store them in the freezer in a plastic bag, and use as needed.

The Parmesan rinds give unbelievable flavor and soul to soups and will turn a bowl of soup into an "entree" worthy of any guest. I generally use about two ounces of Parmesan cheese rinds to a stockpot of soup. Add them in after you've added the liquid and let them cook along with the rest of your soup's ingredients. You won't be sorry!

read more:
Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup with Parmesan Cheese Rind