Daring Bakers Challenge – Cheesecake!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Well… I joined the Daring Bakers website and challenge. All of my favourites blogs participate and I thought it would be fun… and take me outside of my baking box (aka Lemon Meringue Pie). So this month we were challenged to bake a cheesecake. We had to follow the cheesecake directions but could play around with the flavours and we could decorate it however we liked… my problem is that I haven’t taken a picture yet… but my cheesecake sure was taste tested. Seriously delicious.

Margarita Cheesecake

Note: rather than using graham cracker crumbs for my crust, I made a batch of my margarita cookies (see recipe) and crumbled 8 of the cookies (makes 2 cups crumbs).

Margarita crust
ingredients:
2 c. margarita cookie crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemoncello

Cheesecake
ingredients:
3 sticks of cream cheese (24 oz total) @ room temperature
1 c. white sugar
3 large eggs
1 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp lemoncello
1 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

Mix together the crust ingredients and press into a 9 inch springform pan. You should have enough to press just into the bottom of the pan – make more if you want a crust along the sides.

Because you’re going to be baking this in a water bath, seal the springform pan well with tin foil. You want to use enough so that the water doesn’t seep into the pan and make the crust soggy.

Set your crust aside and start preparing your cheesecake batter.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar, and cream until smooth using a hand-held mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next one. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add the heavy cream, lemoncello, lime juice and lime zest and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter on top of the prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all the air bubbles to the surface. Place the pan in a larger pan (roasting pan) and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.

Bake your cheesecake for between 45 – 55 minutes (mine took 50 minutes) – until it’s almost done. To judge, you want the cake to hold together, but still have lots of jiggle to it in the centre (not completely firm). Close the oven door, turn off the heat, and let the cake rest in the cooling oven for 60 minutes. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and lift it carefully out of the water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, then cover and put in the fridge to chill overnight. Once completely chilled – it’s ready to serve.

This is a really lovely treat – and next time I make it I’m going to add some dark chocolate to it too… a layer between the crust and the cheesecake batter… that will punch it up a notch again!

Enjoy…

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