Friday, November 23, 2012

Cheesecake

This Thanksgiving we went to my grandma's house in South Carolina and spent time with my mother's family. The one thing my mother is famous for among her family, is cheesecake. This treat has been present at every special occasion I can remember.  So, in keeping with tradition, my mom and I whipped up this family favorite on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Today, I am going to share with you her coveted recipe.


Start by whipping 5-8oz. blocks of room temperature cream cheese.

Add 1 3/4c. of sugar


Whip until incorporated.


Don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl!


Add 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream. 


Mix until incorporated.


Add 4 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks.
(we had a bit of tragedy with one yolk.)


Add one at a time.





Finally add 1tsp. vanilla


It should look like this when you are finished.
Let the mixture "rest" while you make the crust.



For the crust, start with 2 1/2c. of graham cracker crumbs
and 1/2c. of sugar. 




Add 10tbs. of melted butter.



Mix with a fork until you get a texture like wet sand.
(appetizing, right? :))




Press into a 9" springform pan and all the way up the sides.
Bake the crust for 7 minutes at 350 degrees.



When the crust is finished pour in the cheesecake batter.



Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat 
and bake for another 60 minutes at 250 degrees.
Let cool in the oven for 2 hours if possible 
(with the oven door cracked slightly open).
Let cheesecake chill a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge, preferably overnight.


                                       
The finished product!


The perfect cheesecake has a firm, yet creamy texture.

Some things to remember when making a cheesecake: 

  • Always let the cream cheese warm up to room temp before mixing! If you don't, you will have a very lumpy, unappealing cheesecake. 
  • When making the crust, it is better to have too much than not enough. You may not use all of the mixture, but it is better to have more leftovers than to run out. 
  • Make sure to press the crust all the way up the sides of the pan.  If you don't, the mixture will rise too quickly and cracks may form on top as it expands.
  • Finally, when the cake is baking, treat it like a soufflĂ©. No jumping around in the kitchen or making loud noises that can cause vibrations.  If you do, then you risk the cheesecake "falling" or having cracks on top.
  • Cheesecake is not a "last minute" dessert.  We always make it the day before an event.  It is best chilled overnight, but at least 4 hours.  
  • When serving, we have found the cake is most flavorful when allowed to sit out about an hour before serving.
  • May be garnished with cherries or fruit of your choice, if desired. 

If you love cheesecake, you will LOVE this recipe!  Everyone raves over this dessert.  It's really a lot easier than than you might imagine.  Just be sure you bake it in a 9 inch springform pan.

Let me know if you try out this recipe and how it turned out for you. Do you have any traditional dishes for special occasions? Let me know in a comment below! Until next time.

Happy Cooking,
-Savannah

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

French Press

Okay, okay. I know, I fail as a blogger. I'm sorry. But I'm here now so be happy! Today I bring to you how to use a french press. This is perfect if you don't want to make a whole pot of coffee or you need coffee fast. You can get a french press at kitchen supply stores such as Williams Sonoma, Macy's or online at this link. They come in fun colors and different sizes. Here is my purple one. :)


Start out by putting in 3 tablespoons of ground coffee.
My rule of thumb is just add the coffee up to the top of the color.
Add 1 1/3 cups of boiling water.

Keep the lever up and let it brew for 4-6 minutes depending on how strong you want it.

You can see the grounds floating at the top!

When the time is up push down on the lever  so the  coffee grounds go under the mesh strainer.
Add to some frothy milk and viola!

Have you tried a french press before? Are you thinking about getting one? Let me know in the comments below! Hope you learned something and don't hate me for being slack. :) Until next time!

Happy Cooking,
-Savannah