It's been a couple weeks since I went deep undercover to investigate a San Francisco 49ers opponent. I have to be honest with you guys, the chili monstrosity I ate for the St. Louis Rams really set me back a couple weeks. I wasn't even planning on doing one of these posts for the New York Giants, but my brother's birthday came up and he happens to love cheesecake.
And it just so happens that my fiancee uses a cheesecake recipe that isn't too far removed from being a New York-style cheesecake. So using my extremely honed skills of being able to put two and two together, I had her make the cheesecake and document it for posterity.
As far as I'm aware, people in New York eat only pizza, bagels and cheesecake. I've done an extensive amount of research on the topic and have found that anybody suggesting otherwise is flat-out lying. It's nothing but cheesecake, pizza and bagels.
I want to live in New York.
Anyway, I haven't done one of these in awhile and though I'm aware that this isn't strictly New York-style, ya'll seem to like these posts even when it has no real relevance to the 49ers or their opponents. So I went undercover once again, took one for the team, and ate a boysenberry cheesecake. But let's see what Tabitha, my fiancee, has to say about the actual preparation of the cake.
Everything after this line is her until I say otherwise.
Ah, cheesecake. I love cheesecake. I always lament that I don't have the items needed for a water bath to make these perfect, but I work with what I have.
Special equipment you'll need: A springform panMixer of some sort (I think these are essential.. whether it be a hand mixer or a stand mixer)
I based my cheesecake off of this version, which I understand is not a "traditional" new york style cheesecake, which incorporates sour cream, heavy cream and egg yolks in addition to eggs (I believe the sour cream/heavy cream is either/or?). I also used a seedles boysenberry jam as my swirl (request of the person who wanted this cake, James's brother).
1/2 cup of seedless boysenberry (or whatever) jam
juice of one lemon
32oz of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
zest of one lemon
4 large eggs, room temperature
To start off with, I preheated the oven to 350F. I also greased up my springform pan with a baking spray, but you may use parchment paper and butter the sides if you wish - the parchment paper makes it so it is easier to get off the pan bottom and onto a nice serving plate. This step is annoying and I didn't need to take it out of the pan for serving, so I just sprayed it down.
I bought a box of graham cracker crumbs instead of doing it myself to cut down on dishes, and then mixed the melted butter and sugar in with it until the mixture was nice and crumbly. I pressed it down onto the bottom of the springform pan, but didn't bother to make it too incredibly even. The recipe and popular opinion all say to use a flat-bottomed glass to press down and even out the surface, but I laid out some plastic wrap over the top and used my palm. Either one, depending on your level of perfectionist insanity, will work. I baked the crust for 10 minutes and set it on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temp to 325F.
I then heated up the boysenberry jam in a small saucepan at medium heat. Before I cut the lemon and squeezed it into the jam (For a little moisture to help it melt a bit better) I zested it with a microplane and set the zest aside. Once the sauce is bubbling, reduce the heat to as low as you can and keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally. Jam is already thick, so be careful. I just wanted it to be nice and liquidy.
While that's going on, set up your stand mixer or bowl or whatever, and get all of your cream cheese into it. I also added the sugar, but the instructions on the website said to add it slowly AFTER beating the cream cheese, so I'm not sure if I messed up that way or not! Anyway, beat the cream cheese in your mixer until it's smooth (about 3min). Slowly beat in the sugar (reduce to low speed if you're using a stand mixer) or just do what I did and beat the sugar and cream cheese together. Keeping the stand mixer at low speed, add the salt, the reserved lemon zest from before, and vanilla. I always double the vanilla in every recipe as per the teachings of my godmother (if a baking recipe has no vanilla, they're idiots and you should add some. if it has vanilla in it already, double it. you won't regret it!).
While still on low speed, add your eggs one at a time. It's very important to do this one at a time, and not add the next one until the egg is just incorporated. You don't want beat too much air into the cake, or it will fall in the middle! Once you've mixed the last egg you can go ahead and pour the batter into the springform pan that has your graham cracker crust already baked on. I then dotted the top of the batter with my jam mixture (although I did get a bit lazy and kind of drizzle it around). I took the tip of a knife and swirled around the top kind of willy-nilly. It's okay if you pierce most of the batter as that also helps with air pockets that might be in there! You can keep the rest of the sauce as a garnish, or just leave it and make a PB&J later.
Drop the pan once or twice on your counter to further help with air bubbles, and then put it in the oven for about an hour and ten minutes (that's what I did). The cake needs to jiggle in the middle just slightly and bounce back when you poke the middle. If it isn't set properly after 1hr10min then bake it at 10 min increments until it is where it needs to be. Keep an eye on it by using your oven light, rather than opening the oven, as the temperature drop from opening your oven door can disrupt the cooking.
Now, I don't have the items for a water bath, but if you're familiar with the concept then definitely go with it. Otherwise you'll just need to deal with a cracked surface or some cake collapse. It will still taste good!
When the cake was done I took it out of the oven and let it cool down for a few hours on a wire rack, before wrapping it in plastic wrap and setting it in the fridge overnight to cool. Overnight cooling also helps with the cake's appearance, so definitely don't jump the gun on the cooling process! Anyway, I know I did a few things wrong in the process of making the cake perfect, but I think it turned out tasty and looked pretty.
Please don't hesitate to leave any comments! Thanks everyone.
Back to James
So yeah, I don't really care if it's not "strictly" New York-style. What I care about is that this thing was delicious. It's a shame that most of it was for my brother, so I only got a small piece. Whatever the case, I doubt the Giants are any worse for wear eating things like this on a regular basis. It's not something that's going to leave them, you know, fatigued or anything. Not like the Slinger. That thing was rough.