"Just make regular, plain cheesecake!" Okay, Husband, calm down. I'll bake a plain cheesecake. It's not what I set out to do. But love makes you do crazy things. And since I was in line to eat cheesecake regardless of flavor and toppings, I conceded. Sort of. I baked up a delightful plain cheesecake, alright. But not with run of the mill cheese. Oh, no. This mascarpone cheesecake calls for complete abandonment of boring, processed American cream cheese.
The secret to an ultra-creamy cake
Mascarpone or the usual cheese, the most important step in crafting cheesecake is to be sure it's room temperature. Otherwise you'll have a lumpy, bumpy cheesecake. Not edible times. And once you get beating, scrape down the mixing bowl and the beater or paddle like your
life cake depends on it.
Give your cake a nice, warm bath
A nice water bath in a low temperature oven will help your mixture set slow and luxuriously smooth. This will properly regulate the temperature of the cheesecake, and prevent it from curdling, or again, becoming lumpy and bumpy.
Don't get burned!
FIRST set the cake pan inside a large roasting pan IN the preheated oven. THEN fill the pan with very hot water until it comes at least halfway up the side of the cake pan.
Top it like it's hot
As for those infamous toppings - fresh, juicy strawberries, mouth-watering blueberry sauce or a salted caramel drizzle - do what makes you happy. But don't knock a pure cheesecake until to try it. Because to quote Husband: "I didn't know you could make this good of a cheesecake." Yes. His faith in my skills is inspiring.Print
If you need or want to eliminate gluten from your diet, you can most often find gluten-free graham crackers at your market or even online. Aside from the grahams, this one is naturally gluten-free!
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (pre-made, or about 22 small, square crackers ground up)
- 2 tbs light brown sugar
- 5 tbsp butter, unsalted, melted
For Cheese Mixture
- 1 lb 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Grease an 8" or 9" springform pan with baking spray or shortening. Wrap foil around bottom and up sides of springform pan.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add melted butter and mix with a fork. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crust just begins to darken in color. Lower oven temperature to 325° F.
For Mascarpone Filling
- Beat mascarpone with a hand or stand mixer paddle on medium speed until smooth.
- Add sugar and sour cream and beat two minutes more on medium speed, scraping bowl.
- Gently whisk together eggs, yolk, vanilla and salt in a bowl.
- In four additions, slowly add egg mixture to cheese mixture, scraping the bowl and beater/paddle often. Once batter is completely smooth, pour into crust and tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles (don’t be gentle!).
- Bring a large pot or kettle of water to a boil.
- Place cake pan in a large roasting pan and set on oven rack. Pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until cheesecake jiggles when shaken, but moves as one cohesive mass.
- Cool in water bath, unmold and refrigerate overnight to set.
No springform pan? No problem!
Cheesecakes can be baked in a regular cake pan:
- Coat a cake pan with baking spray, line bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, and spray the top of paper.
- Proceed as directed above, running a butter knife around sides of pan to gently loosen the cake after baking. Still cool the cake completely in the water bath.
- To un-mold, dip the bottom of pan in a sink full of extremely hot water, and flip onto a parchment-covered plate or cutting board. Once free of pan, flip again to serve right-side up.
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