I totally cheated for this months Daring Bakers! You see, I had already baked a cheesecake and was all ready to write a blog post about it when I found out that the Daring Bakers challenge this month was none other than…cheesecake!
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
The other day a basket full of grapefruits surprised me in my weekly farmer’s market delivery and I immediately puckered my lips and made a sour face in slight disgust. Grapefruits are not a fruit I am particularly fond of . Come to think of it, I do not know too many people that are. I cannot eat them raw (too bitter) and I never cooked or baked with them. I immediately went online to find out how I could use my because I am never one to waste a perfectly good piece of fruit, not matter how sour, bitter, or intimidating. One of the recipes I found was a recipe by Dorie Greenspan featured in Gourmet Magazine for grapefruit and ginger cheesecake. Ginger and grapefruit…hmmmm intriguing! Cheesecake? I’m sold!
Among my friends, TDH and I are known for our cheesecakes. We can make a killer cheesecake together. One of our famous cheesecakes is a Reese’s peanut butter cup cheesecake with a chocolate wafer crust that is to die for! But even when we divert from the norm and experiment with a new cheesecake recipe it always has chocolate in it in some form or another. So this cheesecake was a very different kind of cheesecake for us to make. We also decided, since we had no particular reason to make a full cheesecake, that we would make cheesecake bars to give out to friends and co-workers. I find Cheesecake bars to be much more casual and much less intimidating than a fat slice of a cheesecake.
For the crust we used all of the usual suspects: Graham crackers, sugar, and butter. I also added some pureed candied ginger to give the crust some spice. Dorie’s recipe calls for adding the butter to the food processor cold. I have never done this before but it worked beautifully and I have to say I will always be adding my butter cold when making cheesecake crusts from now on.
The first step to making the crust is to process the cookies into fine crumbs.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until you have a course paste-like texture.
Pour the crust into the pan and flatten with a spoon or the bottom of a cup. Bake the crust for 15 minutes in a 350F preheated oven. This will prevent the crust from getting soggy when the creamy cheesecake part is added.
Now, for the filling I used all of the usual suspects again: cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. I also added grapefruit juice, grapefruit rind, fresh minced ginger, powdered ginger to give my filling that citrusy- ginger flavor.
Then add the sugar and whip until smooth.
I added the minced ginger, grapefruit rind, and grapefruit juice last.
Pour into pan and it is ready to bake ! The secret to obtaining the perfect cheesecake is to cook it at a low temperature and use a water bath. The water bath helps to cook the cheesecake evenly and the low temperature helps to make sure it doesn’t crack. When using a water bath, pour water half way up the sides of the pan (if using a springform, wrap the bottom three times with foil to prevent the water from leaking into the pan!) and make sure you use boiling hot water! I baked this cheesecake at 325F for an hour and a half and it turned out beautifully!