Wednesday, October 5, 2016

daddy's famous cheesecake

This cheesecake. It's had newspaper write-ups about it, had countless requests for it, has been made into a billion variations. It's been baked for every possible special occasion -- weddings, holidays, appreciation gifts, parties, proms, graduation parties, showers, you name it. It's Drew's favorite dessert. The recipe has been tweaked and altered over years with countless adjustments to make it absolutely perfect. And still, sometimes it's impossible to recreate if you're not my Dad, making it at home, under perfect conditions. It doesn't require a water bath, but NEEDS a few special tools (namely, a springform pan and extra-long Magic Baking Strips). This "original" recipe is technically a pineapple cheesecake, but you shouldn't think of it that way because it doesn't taste super pineappley -- the citrus just brings out the flavor optimally (and if you really hate pineapple, you can sub in a tablespoon or two of lemon juice and some vanilla bean paste to make it "plain"). Other favorite tweaks include mixing in chopped white chocolate and seedless raspberry puree or making it mocha with a chocolate cookie crust. You can do a lot with it. But this is the original, and this is as thorough of instructions as I can give.

Daddy's Famous Original Cheesecake

8-inch springform pan
2 extra-long magic baking strips


1 Pillsbury rolled pie crust (from the refrigerator section of the grocery)
8 oz can of pineapple in juice
8 oz regular cream cheese
16 oz 1/3-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 heaping cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract


Soften cream cheese and set out eggs & pie crust to get to room temperature.
Drain 8oz can of pineapple in juice.
Soak 2 extra-long magic strips in glass of water. Let it soak up and flip a few times to fully immerse. (This takes the place of a water bath.)
Check oven to ensure any vents on the top of the oven are blocked to prevent drippage from steam from the magic strips. You can place a square of aluminum foil with the edges turned up on the top rack of the oven to prevent this.


Once store-bought pie crust has come close to room temperature (not warm and floppy; aim for firm and pliable), roll out on counter. Sprinkle with flour and rub in on one side to create dry surface. 
Spray springform pan with nonstick spray (sides and bottom). 
Center pie crust, floured side down, on top of springform pan. Press down starting from center and working outwards to evenly spread in pan. 
Use a pastry cutter to even out sides (trimming just slightly - pie crust will cover bottom and roughly half of the sides of pan). Dock crust and sides of crust thoroughly with fork to prevent bubbles. 
Place pan in freezer as you preheat oven to 425F on Bake. 
When oven has preheated, bake crust for 10.5 minutes. 
At this point, crust will be mostly but not completely cooked through, and puffy. While still hot, gently press down with oven mitt to smooth back to sides and bottom of pan. Repeat in one minute. 
[Let oven cool down to 350F.]


In metal mixing bowl of a stand mixer, place softened cream cheese (1/3 fat, then original, then 1/3 fat to evenly distribute). Mix on medium speed for ~3 minutes, until smooth and incorporated.
Slowly add 1/2 cup sugar evenly around bowl until well incorporated (on medium-slow speed). Wipe down sides of bowl and mix again for 1 minute.
Add 1 tsp of vanilla on low speed until incorporated.
Add eggs one at a time on low speed until incorporated. Wipe down sides & beater. Continue beating on low for 1 minute (careful not to beat too high just after adding eggs or mixture will get tough).
Slowly pour in just over 1 cup heavy cream, beating on low. Wipe down sides. Mix at medium high for 2 minutes until mixture is thick.

Pour 1/3 of mixture into prepared crust. Evenly spread drained pineapple. (Rinse strainer at this point or it'll stick and be a major pain!)
Pour in rest of mixture, evenly distributed in pan.
Gently shake pan (to remove air bubbles) as you smooth with spatula.
Careful not to wring out any moisture, fasten on the two magic strips to springform pan, overlapping at the clasp of pan. 
Bake 45 minutes (NO LONGER!) on 350F in the middle rack of the oven.

When baked, place on cooling rack or air-circulating stovetop surface and remove magic strips immediately. Bring to room temperature before refrigerating overnight. Remove from pan just before serving. (We usually put these on cardboard cake rounds for ease in transporting / storing in the fridge.)

If you need to serve it the same day, you can place it in the freezer for 2-3 hours (checking on it periodically) and once it's hardened but not frozen, refrigerate and serve.

the original recipe source and notes
pre-baking storebought pie crust
soak magic strips & drain canned pineapple
how crust should look after pre-baking
gently press down inevitable mounds/bubbles while still hot
sufficiently mix cream cheese mixture until thick & decadent
how it looks as you stick it in oven to bake!

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