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Prepare bakery-quality cheesecake at home
June 26, 2016, 11:31 am
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It happens all the time. You pick out the perfect cheesecake recipe, stock up on ingredients, spend a few hours in the kitchen, and come out with a disappointing result. There are many reasons why cheesecakes often end up the way you do not want them to; here are a few of them, along with a recipe for a simple, yet delicious eggless cheesecake that requires no baking.

Mistakes to avoid:

Press-in crust: If you use press-in crusts, rather than rolling out pastry dough, remember, a major pitfall is that it could end up extra-thick in places and the sides could also ‘slump’ down toward the bottom of the pan when baking. To avoid this, use a straight-sided measuring cup or drinking glass to firmly push the crust into the bottom of the pan and all the way up the sides. This will ensure that the crust is evenly-distributed and stays tall.

Room temperature: Ingredients for the cheesecake should be at the same room temperature. They should sit at least two hours in room temperature; if you are in a rush and your eggs are right out of the refrigerator, submerge them in warm water before using. In case the cream cheese and butter are just out of the fridge, chopping them into smaller pieces will help.

Avoid hand-mixing: Many cheesecake recipes are often mixed by hand or with a hand-held electric mixer, instead, try using the food processor. By mixing the wet ingredients in a processor, the filling becomes perfectly emulsified without any lumps.

Go easy on the eggs: Eggs give cheesecake their extra smooth and rich texture, but stay within recipe limits. Adding too much egg to your recipe might cause cracking on the surface.

 

Over-baking: The center of your cheesecake should still wobble when you remove it from the oven. It will continue to cook as it sits on the counter. Leave it to sit in the oven until it is completely firm and the cheesecake will become over-backed and cracked by the time you serve it. For other visual clues, make sure the filling is pale and that the edges are just barely puffed. Remember, perfectly-baked cheesecake is smooth and rich; over-done cheesecake is dry and crumbly. Maintain a low and steady oven temperature. Use a thermometer to discern if your oven runs hot or cold, and adjust accordingly.

Be patient: Cheesecake needs plenty of time to chill and set before slicing. Give it at least an hour on the counter before slicing.

 

Slicing: To avoid gummy and messy pieces of cake, dip your knife in hot water and wipe it clean before every single cut. It calls for some extra work but it is worth the trouble if you want your cheesecake to look as good as it tastes.

Greek yogurt cheesecake with pomegranate syrup

Crust: Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with nonstick spray and line bottom with parchment-paper. Using your fingertips or a food processor to mix 1 ½ cups of fine graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup unsalted melted and cooled butter and ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl until mixture holds together when pinched tightly. Pack onto bottom of the pan in an even layer and let it chill for at least an hour.

Filling: Place two teaspoons powdered gelatin and 1 ½ tablespoon cold water in a heatproof bowl and let it stand for five to ten minutes. Mix 680 grams cream cheese, 1 ½ cups of plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, ¾ cup sugar, two teaspoons fresh lemon juice, one teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a food processor using pulse  mode.

Pour water to a depth of ½ inch into a small skillet over medium heat. Place the bowl with gelatin in the skillet and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Once done, remove from the skillet.

With the processor running, drizzle the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture and mix well until well blended. Pour into the prepared crust. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to break up any big air bubbles. Smooth the top and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least six hours before serving.

Pomegranate syrup: Bring two cups flash-pasteurized pomegranate juice, ½ cup sugar and two tablespoons light corn syrup to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk occasionally for 35 minutes and once thickened and done, leave it to cool. Cover, chill andre-warm slightly before serving.

Cut cheesecake into slices, drizzle pomegranate syrup and scatter some pomegranate seeds as topping.

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