Monday, May 9, 2011

2nd Only To The Nonesuch Cheesecake

This is a story about my dear friend Mike, and Christmas cookies.

This is Nonesuch Farm.  Where my good friends Mike & Jenny live.
And THE BEST cheesecake in the entire world lives there too.
When Mike makes it.

I know that is a big statement but trust me on this one, I've sampled the cheesecakes of the world and haven't tasted any thing better than Mike's.

I was given one for a birthday gift last year and almost weeped.
You see I LOVE cheesecake.  It's my absolute favorite thing to eat.  And to me a good cheesecake is all about the crust.

These are the Christmas cookies that have been in my freezer since December.  My Mom went on a cookie baking spree this year and sent us home with the leftovers.

Since my pantry clean out, I've been attempting to use everything in our kitchen.  And the Christmas cookies were patiently waiting for their starring role.

Then late one night it hit me.  Wouldn't those delicious, perfectly baked sugar cookies (from GFS) make a scrumptious crust to a cheesecake?

Ok, I didn't really say scrumptious but it sounded sophisticated.

So I baked them for 12 minutes at 350F.

Then I crumbled them in a food processor, till I got this:

Then I smushed them into a greased 9-in springform pan.

Here is one of the secrets to a scrumptious cheesecake, you have to smush the cookie crumblies all the way up the side of the pan.  Then fill in the bottom.

Next I made the cheesecake part using a standard cheesecake recipe from Taste of Home.  So I'm sure you can guess cream cheese is a must.

Oh, and word of warning.  Don't skimp on the Philadelphia brand.  For some reason this is one instance where the generic brand just isn't the same.  Trust me, my frugal-self has tried.

Beat the cream cheese together until smooth.  Then you are going to need some sugar (1-1/3 cups)

Add the sugar and beat for 1 minute.  Then mix in the eggs.

Crack those before in a bowl and slightly beat them.  It will save you some mixing time.

Next comes the secret ingredients that turn a delicious cheesecake into a scrumptious, best you've ever eaten in your life cheesecake.

That's right, orange juice (2 tbsps) and grated orange peel (2 tsp).  Mix those in and beat for 2-3 minutes.

I pulled out old faithful for this kitchen adventure.  It was a must because my little hand mixture died during the process (it wasn't pretty).

Then pour your mixture into your already prepared pan with your cookie crust.

Now comes the only tricky part.

You get to make a water bath for your cheesecake.
Don't worry, bubbles and champagne are not required.

Make a 16-in square with heavy duty aluminum foil and double it.  Then place the wrapped springform pan into a shallow baking dish.  I used a roasting pan and that seemed to work.  Place that "almost" water bath in the oven. (Preheated 350F)

Pour hot (not boiling) water into the shallow pan to a depth of an inch.

And don't worry it will still taste scrumptious even if you accidentally pour some of the water into the cheesecake.
Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Bake for 80 minutes, until the center is set.  That just means it stops jiggling.  Unlike my arms, which are destined to jiggle for the rest of my life.

And the top should be golden brown.
Cool for at least 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight (minimum 3-4 hrs).
Then enjoy the scrumptious, best you've ever eaten in your life cheesecake.

Okay, second best you've ever eaten in your life cheesecake.  Second to The Nonesuch Cheesecake.

24 baked sugar cookies, crumbled
4 packages, Philadelphia cream cheese (8 oz)
1-1/3 cups sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsps orange juice
2 tsps grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 350F
Form crust in lightly greased 9-in springform pan, making sure to form up the sides of the pan.
Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
Add sugar and beat for 1 minute.
Add eggs and beat on low speed just until combined.
Add orange juice and peel, beat on high 2-3 minutes.
Pour cheesecake mixture into formed crust.  Wrap springform pan tightly with double heavy duty aluminum foil.  
Place wrapped pan into shallow roasting pan.  Fill roasting pan with hot water to the depth of 1 inch.
Bake 75-80 minutes.
Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run knife around the edge of the pan to loosen and cool for 1 hour longer.
Remove foil and refrigerate over night, or 3-4 hours.


Jillian Vanover said...

Yum!! Must. Try. This. :)

Stephanie said...

Your cheesecake looks very good. If it were not for the ingredients - cream cheese... - I would think that it is a light and fluffy cheese cake.

However, one day, when I figure out how to duplicate my Mom's German cheese cake with the ingredients I have at my disposal in the US, I'll have to blog about how to make REAL cheese cake, invite you for a taste test - and you may have to reconsider your rankings....

But yes, it's all about the crust!

Simplifying in the South said...

Thanks all. It was absolutely delicious!

@Stephanie: I just saw your email and am going to definitely have to try that crust, it looks awesome!

Tanja said...

Can I come over and have a bite? A baker I'm not, and I've never even attempted one before, but I did have a friend who made the best cheesecake I've ever had in my life. There's nothing like the homemade version! Whispering to self, "I wish I was a better cook. I wish I was a better cook. I wish I was a better cook."

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