Unbelievable Cheesecake Update!

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Unbelievable CheesecakeI originally posted this Unbelievable Cheesecake in 2013.  However, on this, my last regular appearance on KMOV’s Great Day St. Louis, I chose to update it using the food processor.  In doing so, this is the fastest and easiest cheesecake I’ve ever made.

This is the easiest of all cheesecakes to make – five ingredients and you’re good to go (I don’t count water as an ingredient, if you do it’s  six). When I first stumbled across this recipe, it called for baking it overnight. I did and I ended up with a large off white hockey puck.

This unbelievable cheesecake requires no crust, no water bath and can be put together in a matter of ten to fifteen minutes from gathering the ingredients to pouring it in the pan. A 2 1/2 hour slow bake insures a perfectly smooth, creamy, delightful cheesecake with no cracks ready to serve plain or with a sauce.

While a springmold pan can be used, my preference is a cheesecake pan. This pan can be seen here.

I prefer to make this in the processor as opposed to the mixer but I have included instructions for both. It is far easier to get a completely smooth, lump free cheesecake with the processor but either machine will yield a wonderful cheesecake so don’t hesitate to use what you have.

Cheesecake
3 to 4 tablespoons graham or cookie crumbs
2 pounds cream cheese, regular or 1/3 less fat, room temperature (910 grams)
1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
5 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup water

Spray a 9 inch cheesecake or springform pan with cooking spray. Add the crumbs and shake the pan to dust it with the crumbs on the bottom and about 1 1/2 inches up the side. Remove the excess and set the pan aside. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Processor Method
Place half the cream cheese in the processor and process until it is smooth. Add the remainder of the cream cheese and the sugar, processing until completely smooth. Scrape down several times to make sure there are no lumps hiding. Add the eggs, process and scrape down. Add the vanilla and water. Process to make sure it is smooth.

Pour it into the prepared pan and continue to baking.

Mixer Method
In a mixer bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar, beating until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom often to prevent lumps. Add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down every two eggs. Add the vanilla and water and beat to just combine. You do not want to incorporate air at this point. That’s it!!! Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven.

Baking
Bake for 2 1/2 hours until the cheesecake does not “jiggle” in the middle. It will be very lightly browned. Cool in the pan and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

To remove from the pan easily, heat the sides with a hair dryer set on high. If using a cheesecake pan, place it on top of a wide can and slide the bottom down. If using a springform pan, release the side of the pan. Using a straight, metal spatula, loosen the bottom by slipping the spatula between the cake and the bottom of the pan. Using two pancake turners, one on each side of the cake, lift the cheesecake onto a serving plate. If using a springform pan, you cannot loosen the bottom because of the lip. However, the cheesecake should be firm enough to lift off using the pancake turners.

Note: This cheesecake freezes well if you wish to make it ahead.

Brandied Cranberry Sauce –  I realized that the cheesecake would benefit from a sauce.  Looking around I had a package of cranberries in the freezer so I quickly made this sauce.  I did not write down the amounts but these are as I remember them.  Cranberries have an enormous amount of pectin which is why there is no thickener used.
12 ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over (340 grams)
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar (250 grams or 8 3/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brandy

Combine all of the ingredients except the brandy in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add the brandy. Cover directly with film and allow to cool. Refrigerate.

To use: Heat slightly if necessary to loosen if too thick.

Stuffed Italian Bread – Pane Bianco

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Stuffed Italian Bread
I first ran across this Stuffed Italian Bread, Pane Bianco, which means white bread, on the King Arthur website.  I love bread and I love making it.  I am always on the hunt for a new recipe.  The first thing that caught my eye was the gorgeous shape of this Stuffed Italian Bread which is actually very easy to accomplish.

As I read the introduction, I noticed we have Dianna Wara of Washington, Illinois to thank for this beauty.   She  took first place with her Pane Bianco  in the first-ever National Festival of Breads.  King Arthur simplified it somewhat and I followed their lead on that since I didn’t have the original recipe for this Stuffed Italian Bread. Continue reading

Updating Holiday Baking

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Orange Cranberry Cake for Holiday BakingHoliday baking is like no other time of the year.  With the holidays upon us, I thought it might be interesting to go back into my past blogs and pull up some of the best holiday baking.

There is a cheesecake, pie, cakes, muffins and a lot of cookies that might be new to your Holiday cookie selection.  I’ve even included my favorite Cranberry Relish which is really easy, has nothing to do with baking but is one of my best holiday dishes.

Holiday baking needn’t be stressful.  Many of the recipes here can be made ahead in whole or in part.  Many can be frozen.  All will add to your holiday baking repertoire and I hope become traditions for you. Continue reading

Hot Peppered Pecans

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Hot Peppered PecansIt’s TV time again and the Hot Pepepred Pecans fit the 4 minute segment to a tee.  I originally discovered these Hot Peppered Pecans when the St. Louis Art Museum wrote their cookbook, “Artists in the Kitchen”. Some of the testing was done in my bakery kitchen.

These Hot Peppered Pecans are a standout. Heat Alert –  they are hot!!  So if you don’t favor a lot of heat, tone down all the pepper and the hot pepper sauce. Start with half and go from there.

These pecans make a great holiday or hostess gift. Choose little containers or put them cellophane bags and tie with decorative ribbons. They are also great on a cheese tray, crumbled in a salad or included in any recipe calling for pecans, including sweet ones.  The kick they add to chocolate chip cookies is amazing. As an added bonus they are gluten free. Continue reading

Honey Diamonds – A cookie? A small cake?

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Honey DiamondsHoney Diamonds were among my mothers unusual Christmas cookies.  I have no idea why we didn’t have them more often.  But Mom had a great collection of cookies served only at Christmas.  I have never seen most of them anywhere.  I noticed in years passed while blogging that for some reason, I have never shared Holiday recipes ahead of time.  I plan to rectify that this year as you will see them throughout the next few months.

A rare cookie with no shortening, these soft pillows of spiced chocolate are actually more little cakes packed with flavor that only get better when they sit. Its quick preparation is a boon to busy bakers and as a bonus they make the house smell wonderful while baking. Continue reading