Personally, I think people mostly take cheesecake a little too seriously. Foil wraps and water baths, and 3 different baking temperatures and serious crack anxiety. I mean, life is serious; cheesecake should be fun! To prove my point, I quote Martha Stewart…
“To avoid cracks in a finished baked cheesecake, start with the ingredients at room temperature; don't overmix the eggs, and don't overbake. Before unmolding, run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake. If the top does crack, consider concealing imperfections with fresh fruit or a berry or chocolate sauce. “
See, to me, that just doesn’t sound fun. That sounds stressful. But I guess this is where I once again reiterate that I am not a professional baker, not even a semi-professional baker. I am a non- professional baker which means that I like to bake, but keep it rustic, simple and as uncomplicated as possible.
After listening to Martha, you wouldn’t think that making cheesecake would very easily fall into the category of simple, rustic, or actually fun. But then the good people over at Fine Cooking took it upon themselves to do just that. Make it simple, and make it fun.
So you go HERE (sadly, Food and Wine no longer support this webpage 😞) on their website and create your own personal cheesecake from flavors, add-ins, crust options, toppings, etc. by dragging your choices into a bowl. At the end, they give you your personalized recipe to print out. See, cheesecake can be fun!
So just for more fun, I quizzed my husband on what add-ins, flavors, etc. he would like in a cheesecake, him thinking all the while that this was just some fun mental exercise. And then for our anniversary last weekend, I surprised him with his own personal cheesecake. He was genuinely surprised and moved to tears. Well, not really, but very impressed.
He chose a chocolate crust and then banana puree and Bailey’s Irish Cream add-ins and then a burnt-sugar (brulee) top sprinkled with chocolate-covered espresso beans. Sounds good, huh? Well, it was. It was easy too. No water bath, no crack, just a 9-inch round of cheesecake deliciousness. I’m pretty sure I over-baked it, but it was still super yummy. (Oh, the part about the chocolate-covered espresso beans that I knew I had in the pantry and was going to use on the cheesecake?…I may or may not have eaten them all and totally forgot until I went to finish the cheesecake). But that burnt-sugar topping was so good that we completely forgot about the espresso beans and didn’t miss them at all. Mostly.
So have some fun, make a cheesecake, and if it cracks, don’t even think about hiding it. Cheesecake cracks are totally delicious.
GO HERE TO DESIGN AND CREATE YOUR OWN CHEESECAKE
Unfortunately, Fine Cooking is no longer offering this fun cheesecake experience, but...