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April 10, 2018

Five cheesecake tips

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Five quick tips for perfect cheesecakes:

Room temperature ingredients

Cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, eggs, and so on—all of these should be allowed to come up to room temperature, before mixing them to make the cheesecake batter.

Don’t overbeat

Once you start adding the eggs, don’t overbeat the batter. Use the lowest speed on a hand mixer; run it until just combined; stir/fold the rest of the way by hand, with a spatula. Watch out for bubbles—you don’t want air incorporated into the batter.

Grease the springform

Butter the sides of the springform pan, or line the sides with parchment paper. This is so that the cheesecake doesn’t stick to the springform pan frame; if it does, then when it shrinks in the fridge, it can crack. Also, it will be much harder to remove the frame if the cheesecake has stuck to it, and you may damage the cake in the process.

Water “bath”

Cheesecake recipes tell you to use a water bath, or bain marie, to moderate the temperature of the cake as it bakes, and maintain a humid environment—these things prevent cracks. This is good advice.

But what if your springform pan leaks? Do you have to wrap the bottom in aluminum foil? Sometimes water can leak through anyway…

Forget those worries! Instead of actually placing the springform pan in the pan of water, put the pan of water on the oven rack below your cheesecake! This works just as well, and guarantees zero leaks.

Leave the cheesecake in the oven

When you turn off the oven, don’t take the cheesecake out immediately! The shock of the rapid temperature and humidity change may cause cracks. Instead, leave the cheesecake in there. Let it sit there for another 2 hours; only then take it out, let it cool on a rack, and then put it in the fridge to chill overnight.

BONUS TIP

Suppose all these tips fail you, and your cheesecake still cracks, or looks imperfect. What to do?

Simple: make a chocolate ganache, or a fruit sauce, or a caramel sauce, and pour it over the cheesecake; or, arrange some berries on top, and top them with some whipped cream; or shave some dark chocolate, and sprinkle it on top in a thick layer… the sky’s the limit, here. Your dinner guests will be none the wiser, and the cheesecake will be improved!

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