Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Maida Heatter's Eight Hour Cheesecake- my way

I love making cheesecakes and I especially love making Maida's cakes.  Her recipes are exacting and they always taste amazing.  But the thing is, I prefer making individual cakes- I can freeze small portions and individualize the servings.  It's a perfect gluten-free recipe if you omit the graham cracker crust...  The small cakes were made in 250ml wide mouth canning jars.

This recipe makes 15 cakes in jars.

3 lbs         cream cheese at room temperature
1.5 cups    granulated sugar
2 tbsp       vanilla extract
1 tbsp       lemon extract
6 tbsp       Cointreau (or Grand Marnier) liqueur
1 cup        sour cream
6               eggs

2 tbsp       melted butter, for the inside of the jars

For the graham cracker bottom:
8 ounces   graham cracker crumbs (or substitute chocolate cookie crumbs) about 16 whole graham cracker, broken into rough pieces and processed into fine, even crumbs.  Omit for gluten free
2 tbsp      granulated sugar
10 tbsp    melted butter

Butter 15 250 ml wide mouth canning jars (bottom and sides).

To make the bottoms:
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl, add the butter and toss with a fork until evenly moistened.  Divide the crumb mixture among the fifteen jars and press down evenly.  Place the jars on a baking sheet with sides high enough to hold about one inch of very hot tap water.  You will add the water only when baking the cheesecake, not the bottoms.

Place in the oven and bake until fragrant, about fifteen minutes.  Cool on a wire rack while making the filling.

To make the cheesecakes:
Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
Using your stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese for one or two minutes until very smooth.  There should be no lumps.  Gradually add the sugar, vanilla, lemon extract and Cointreau and continue beating until perfectly smooth.

Add the sour cream, then the eggs, one at a time, beating until each one is completely miles before adding the next one.  Ladle the mixture into each jar, filling to 1/2 inch from the top of the jar.  Put the baking tray in the over and slowly add very hot tap water.

Bake for three hours, turning the pan around in the oven about half way through the cooking time.  After three hours, turn the oven off and carefully transfer the jars to a wire rack.  It will still be jiggly.  Let the cakes stand, untouched, until they cool completely.  You can unmold them (with difficulty) but I prefer serving them in the jars.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve or freeze with the canning lid on.  To serve, whip fresh whipping cream (add a little sugar and a few tablespoons of Cointreau).  Dinners had a choice of topping with triple chocolate biscotti crumbs (see recipe), a dollop of whipped cream and a tablespoon of homemade strawberry and cherry jam. Delicious!

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