Classic Recipes: Making A Basic Cheesecake

Tips and advice for making a basic cheesecake using ricotta cheese or cream cheese.

Cheesecake is a classic dessert that is rich and satisfying. However, many home cooks are hesitant to try making cheesecake at home because of its tendency to sag in the center or develop cracks in the cake. With a bit of patience, however, making a delicious cheesecake at home can be easy and rewarding. To make a classic New York-style cheesecake with ricotta cheese, use the first recipe. For a more dense cheesecake that uses cream cheese, use the second recipe. Regardless of the recipe you choose, you will need a spring-form pan that allows you to remove the cheesecake without damaging the crust or basic shape of the cake. To help prevent cracking, add a pan filled with water to the oven during baking to maintain a humid environment. This method helps prevent the cake form cracking, which is cause by moisture escaping from the cake. If you choose to use the water-pan method, cover the outside of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent water seepage into your cake, which will make it soggy. Once the basic cake is done, you can add fresh berries, berry sauce or chocolate to make the basic recipes unique.

New York cheesecake

Ingredients:

-1 lb ricotta cheese

-2 cups sour cream

-16 oz cream cheese

-1 ½ cups sugar

-1/2 cup butter (melted)

-3 large eggs

-3 tbs flour

-3 tbs cornstarch

-5 tbs vanilla extract

-5 tbs lemon juice

To make a New York cheesecake, allow all ingredients to come to room temperature. Use an electric mixer or food processor to combine the ricotta and sour cream until the mixture is fluffy. Slowly add the cream cheese, then the sugar and finally the butter. Increasing the speed to medium and add the eggs, flour, cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, with an even texture. Do not beat the mixture too quickly, or you will introduce air, which will lead to cracking and cause the cheesecake to be too dense. Pour into a spring-form pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave in closed oven for an additional hour, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Cream cheese cheesecake

Ingredients:

-1 cup graham cracker crumbs

-3 tbs sugar

-3 tbs butter (melted)

-4 8-oz packages cream cheese

-1 cup sugar

-3 tbs flour

-4 eggs

-1 cup sour cream

-1 tbs vanilla extract

To make the crust for the cream cheese cheesecake, mix together the crumbs, sugar and butter. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a spring-form pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. To make the filling, use an electric mixer or food processor to combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour at medium speed. Do not use high speed or else you will introduce air into the mixture, which will lead to cracks during baking. While still mixing, add the eggs and mix until well blended. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour over prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and leave the cake in the closed oven for an additional hour. Remove to cool on a wire rack. Chill in the refrigerator overnight for the best results.



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