I think a lot of people are afraid to make their own cheesecake because it seems kind of mysterious. You just look at it and it’s like its own thing. Like, is this just cream cheese? It’s yellow like cheese and has cheese in the name, but it doesn’t taste like cheese, but it kind of does. I like to eat it but its nature I do not understand.
The only semi-out of the ordinary thing you need to make a cheesecake is a springform pan. It’s the kind that has the edge that detaches with a little buckle thing. That way you don’t have to flip the cheesecake over to get it out because that’s a messy idea. The rest of the ingredients are cream cheese, sugar, eggs (which make it yellow), vanilla and other various flavorings. Plain as jane! As you will find by the length and content of this post, it can, however, be a bit of a project to make.
Here’s an Ina recipe for some serious cheesecake of the more traditional variety that I made one time sans the berry topping. Note the EXTREME eggs that make it VERY, VERY rich. Also, I will say, the amount of lemon zest she uses may be a bit too prominent for some, so cut it down to half a tablespoon if you want more of a “hint” of lemon.
I decided to make my current cheesecake the WILD flavor of white chocolate lime because taking culinary risks makes my adrenaline PUMP LIKE MAD! Also, I first got the idea for a white chocolate lime dessert here, from a Paula Deen dessert. I’ve never made the actual dessert myself. And I know this plump Southern Belle is no longer trendy to embrace, but I do watch her show from time to time, and I’m not afraid to admit that I cherish selected nuggets of her wisdom. Don’t hate.
SO. The following (and preceding half-eaten photo) was created by combining this recipe for key lime cheesecake and this one for white chocolate cheesecake. AND. Once I get an idea in my head, I’m rather impatient in completing it, so what we had in the house was one 1/3 less fat cream cheese, one full fat cream cheese, heavy cream and some sour cream (which also makes an appearance in some cheesecake recipes). Like I said, I’m WILD, so instead of three containers of full fat cream cheese I used the two I had plus sour cream mixed with heavy cream. These things happen. The texture was not as rich as traditional cheesecake, but the taste was still there. I’ll list the recipe as it SHOULD be based on these other two recipes. Also note that this is PRIMARILY a lime cheesecake, the white chocolate kinda sits in the background. Like a photobomb.
Recipe below. Here are some highlights:
Oven-proof dish of some sort
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies- just a nice change from graham crackers
6tbsp melted butter
3- 8oz containers of full fat or 1/3 less fat cream cheese (regular size) softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1tsp lime zest (one lime)
1/2 cup lime juice (about 8 limes. Yikes! Honestly, folks, I live in New England and I just use the stuff in the bottle, it is just not worth the trouble of squeezing 8 stubborn limes)
8oz white chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix crushed cookies and 6 tbsp melted butter in a bowl (wooden spoon or hands are good) until cookies are evenly coated. Spread mixture on bottom of greased springform pan. Smush it down evenly by placing a piece of parchment paper over the mixture and mushing it into a wide and compacted layer with your hands. Set aside.
3. Mix cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time mixing in between each one. Add vanilla and mix yet again.
4. Zest the lime then juice those suckers until you’ve accumulated 1/2 cup lime juice. Set aside.
5. Melt the white chocolate however you see fit (microwave or double-boiler) and mix it into the cream cheese etc. bowl.
6. Add lime zest and juice and mix until smooth. Pour completed cheesecake mixture into pan over cookie crust.
7. Fill your oven-proof dish with water and/or ice cubes and put it on the bottom rack of the oven. The reason is SCIENCE.
8. Bake for about an hour on the top rack until you can put a toothpick in the middle of the cake and it comes out clean, not with gunk on it. It’s okay if the middle is still jiggly. It will set.
9. Cheesecake cooling: You can never be too careful. Most sources recommend turning off the oven and letting it cool in there for about an hour or at room temperature for an hour lest your beautiful creation sink and crack due to violent changes in temperature. And after you let it rest like it just ran a marathon….