For a 24cm/9 inch pan, standard graham cracker cookie crust: Depending on the size of your pan and whether or not you want to have crust up the sides, take 6-8 oz of graham crackers and obliterate in a food processor with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the melted butter (pour a little of the butter off to grease your pan first) and mix well. 6 oz of crumbs will cover the bottom of one 24cm (9 inch) springform pan, more will let you go up the sides. Chill pan with crust in it. If you place parchment paper over the disk of the springform pan, you can remove the cheesecake easily and not have to serve it on the disk.Crust Variants:
Use ginger snap cookies (goes really well with pumpkin filling), or other wafer cookies (chocolate, coconut, lemon, etc.) as above, but without the brown sugar or cinnamon (just butter) and you'll want to bake it at 350 for about 10 minutes to set. You can then chill it or just pour the filling in.
Basic unit of filling: That alone isn't enough to make a very large cheesecake, but I've calculated the sizes of a few common springform pans, and here's how many units you need for each. The 24cm is the most common size, and if you only make one size cheesecake, make them 24cm.
One 20cm/8 inch pan: 2 units
One 24cm/9 inch pan: 3 units
One 25cm/10 inch pan: 3 units for a low height cheesecake, or 4 units and find a smaller pan for the rest.
One 26cm/11 inch pan: 4 units and it will be a fairly full cheesecake
Three 18cm/7 inch pans: 5 units
Size Cream cheese Sugar Eggs Heavy Cream Corn starch 20cm/8 inch 16oz (2pkg) 2/3c 2 2/3c 1/8c 24cm/9 inch 24oz (3pkg) 1c 3 1c 3 Tbsp 2x20cm 32oz (4pkg) 1-1/3c 4 1-1/3c 1/4c 26cm/11 inch 32oz (4pkg) 1-1/3c 4 1-1/3c 1/4c 3x18cm/7 inch 40oz (5pkg) 1-2/3c 5 1-2/3c 5 Tbsp
Mixing the filling:In powerful mixer, soften the cream cheese. Thoroughly blend in sugar (go ahead and use a high setting for these two steps). Slowly add eggs, one at a time. Scrape the bowl frequently. Add cornstarch. Add whipping cream and stop mixing as soon as it has blended in. Add flavorings. Knock bowl frequently to reduce air bubbles (this ain't no souffle, but the eggs and cream will get air mixed in). Pour into pan and bake at 275 for 90 minutes (for smaller cheesecakes) to 2 hours until nice and browned on top. If your springform pan leaks, wrap aluminum foil around the bottom so that butter doesn't dribble out and make a mess on the bottom of your oven. If you have room in the oven, fill a pie pan or oven-safe baking pan with water and put it in the oven as well to steam the cheesecake while baking, this should reduce the chance of cracking.
Let cool on a rack for 2 hours (it's still baking) then Chill for at least 12 hours. The sides of the springform pan can be removed after 1 hour in the 'fridge. If you need to freeze it, let it cool in the 'fridge for at least 6 hours before moving to the freezer, and remove from the freezer at least an hour before serving.
Flavorings (all calculated for one 24cm cheesecake):Basic: zest of 1/2 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon, or plenty of real vanilla extract (about a tablespoon or two) for the 24cm cheesecake.
Chocolate chunk: Vanilla and 4 or more oz of chocolate in chunks. Use small chunks or they'll all sink to the bottom. Most chocolate chips are too heavy and will sink.
Chocolate cheesecake. Melt 4 (or more) oz of bittersweet chocolate in double boiler and mix in about 1/4c of the whipping cream (makes it easier to pour). Mix thoroughly into cream cheese/sugar/cornstarch mixture before adding eggs. If your cream cheese isn't at room temperature when you start, you'll really notice with chocolate, as you'll get little white chunks of unblended cream cheese showing up. Add eggs and remaining cream and continue as above. This works for white chocolate as well, but you may want to use more than 4 oz as its flavor isn't as strong, and you're going for the texture.
Choc swirl: Make the filling above as normal (with vanilla), melt the chocolate as above and mix some of the filling with the chocolate, pour remaining filling into pan and swirl in chocolate filling mix.
Mint/Chocolate Mint: Add 2 Tablespoons of peppermint extract after everything else is mixed in. Works well with chocolate or white chocolate as well. White Chocolate mint + chocolate cookie base + dark chocolate ganache topping = super-sized peppermint patty!
Orange: Zest of 1 orange and juice of 1/2 orange mixed in.
Orange chocolate: Should be obvious.
Caramel swirl: Melt 1 package (6 oz) soft caramel candies with 1Tbsp butter and about 2Tbsps of the whipping cream in a double-boiler. Stir in about 1 cup of the batter. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan and swirl in the caramel batter mixture. If you want to "hide" the caramel part, save a couple of tablespoons of the batter and pour over the top to cover. I tried a "Snickers" cheesecake once: a caramel swirl but I stirred in some peanuts and made a milk chocolate ganache. The peanuts became soft with cooking, which were fine, but most people expect crunchy peanuts so I don't think I'll try that again. Also, if you use milk chocolate for the ganache, use very little cream to a lot of chocolate, or it'll never set. In that case, just say it's supposed to be an oozy chocolate sauce and folks will believe you.
Pumpkin Spice: Add 1 cup pumpkin pie filling, some cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Alternately, one jar of pumpkin butter is good for a 20cm or 24cm cheesecake. Use the ginger cookie crust.
Can it be even more fattening? Oh please say it can!Sure, just make one slightly dilute (250g chocolate to 8 fl. oz heavy whipping cream) recipe's worth of ganache from my truffle recipe (if you choose this, get a pint of heavy whipping cream so you have another cup to use for the ganache), and while the ganache is still warm, pour it over the cooled cheesecake (the next day is a good time). It should be cooled another hour or so for the ganache to set. Extra for experts: remove from the springform pan and set on a cooling rack over a jelly roll pan and pour the ganache over, so that it covers the sides too. It helps to have the cake very cool, so you may need to freeze it for an hour before doing this trick.
How about Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Care to learn to make Chocolate Truffles?
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