New York Cheesecake (…and some musings)

I know this is a food blog, and maybe I shouldn’t be delving into these things, but I’ve had a lot on my mind lately…

As we all know, the political climate in America (and around the globe) has been burning hot. Things were simmering for quite some time, but the simmer has erupted into a full boil and is threatening to spill over.

Here in the States, we are looking into the face of a xenophobic, islamophobic, racist, hate-mongering, modern day fascist. The Republican frontrunner (?!) has brought out a very nasty side of our fellow Americans. I am so disappointed and saddened by the way my countrymen have responded to these times of trials and tribulations. Instead of coming together and supporting one another, we are being torn apart.

Places of worship are being desecrated, Muslims are being harassed in the streets and their schools, Muslim women are being targeted for wearing their religious head covering.

People that we grew up with, who know us, are responding to us with vitriol. I just feel so hurt and disappointed.

You guys, we are one. We bleed the same blood. Don’t let hate drive a wedge between us. We are better than that.

***

Cheesecake is something that I’ve been struggling with and wanting to conquer for quite some time. The last time I attempted making a standard cheesecake was in Spring 2013, when my father and mother were visiting. My Papa was a fan of cheesecake, and it was for him that I attempted to take a shot at it. The crust was slightly burnt and super soggy, and the surface was majorly cracked, but my dad savored and relished each bite.

This time around, I made sure to do my research before I got started. I went through and read about various tips and techniques, and I also reached out to the Cheesecake Queen herself, Faaiza of Modest Munchies, for some pointers (take a look at her impressive roundup of cheesecakes!). The following are techniques that will ensure you get the perfect cheesecake:

  • Be sure to grease your pan! Most recipes don’t call for the springform pan to be greased, but to help prevent cracking, make sure you’re greasing the sides. The science behind it is that as the cheesecake cools, it contracts inwards. If the sides aren’t greased, the cake will stick to the sides and crack as it contracts.
  • Use room temperature cream cheese and eggs.
  • After the cream cheese has been mixed well with the sugar, swap out your mixer/whisk for a mixing spoon and gently mix the remaining ingredients. Do not overmix!
  • Once you’ve poured the batter into the pan, tap the pan on the counter a few times. This helps release any air bubbles that could potentially lead to crackage (awesome tip from Faaiza!).
  • Low and slow baking is the way to go! Skip the water bath, and bake according to the directions on the recipe. Once the time is up, turn off the heat, and allow the cheesecake to cool down in the oven itself. The point behind this is that it allows the cheesecake to cool slowly, thus avoiding abrupt temperature changes, and eventual cracks.
  • If all else fails, cover that baby up with some fruit or whipped cream and call it a day 🙂

(Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.)

 

NewYorkCheesecake

New York Cheesecake

Yield: 1 9-inch Cake

Ingredients:

For Cheesecake:

  • 15 leaves graham crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pounds (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

For Topping:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Make Cheesecake:

Preheat oven to 325°F and set aside a greased 9-inch springform pan.

In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cinnamon and mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to prepared springform pan, and press the crumbs onto the bottom. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar and whisk until smooth. Using a mixing spoon, add whipping cream and mix until just combined. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring only until combined. Add sour cream, all-purpose flour, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Pour batter into springform pan and tap on the counter a few times to release any air pockets.

Bake for 70 minutes, and then turn off the oven. Allow the cake to cool in the oven, without opening the door, for 6 to 8 hours. Transfer to fridge and chill until ready to serve, at least 4 hours.

Make Topping:

Combine sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread evenly over chilled cheesecake.

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6 responses

  1. As Salaam Alaykum. It’s really sad state of affairs across the world right now. May Allah guide and rectify this ummah and allow us to make hijra to make hijra to muslim lands (not to join Isis).
    Your cheesecake looks soo good and thanks for sharing those tips on how to bake the perfect cheesecake.

  2. When I saw this on my email I jumped right to your blog. I love cheesecakes but did not dare to try my hands on them yet:). Loved your tips a lot.
    Regarding political issues.. do not even let me get started or else I will bust with anger and disappointment here from all the parties.. bottom line is people are going crazy and loosing their minds EVERYWHERE.

  3. Henna, this looks absolutely beautiful, I can’t wait to try this. I love how you gave a few pointers before getting started. My oldest daughter (not a huge baker) always complains about how me and people on the web don’t give “exact” details on how to bake, for someone like her… I usually laugh about it but when I was learning how to bake ( loooong time ago) this kind of small pointers would have been a huge help.
    What you wrote in the beginning of your post is so sad to see people react that way. 😦 my daughter keeps telling me about this.

  4. Well spoken! I totally agree. here there is a group called ‘reclaim Australia’. Reclaim from who? We’re a country of immigrants which has so much space to share and yet we have some of the toughest cruelest immigration policies there are. That’s my 2 cents worth anyway. Great looking cheesecake.

  5. Not going to talk about the political atmosphere here. I’m tired of hearing about it and reading all the hateful comments. I had my own personal experience just the other day.
    I will continue to be “unapologetically Muslim” and I am not going to let this stupidity scare me into hiding.
    Now for the cheescake, looks fabulous! I mastered cheesecakes a while back and am pretty confident with them now. My favourite is the NY and I make it quite often, it’s always a hit and I love how you can freeze them.
    All your tips are spot on and the same ones I use for mine. They work!

    hope all is well with you, stay positive!
    One of your readers commented on Hijra….I’m not going anywhere…the West is my home and I will not be forced into leaving.

    Nazneen

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