Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cheesecake Mission Impossible?

I'm sorry it's been a while since I've added anything on my blog, but I promise you I've been working hard on it!  I wanted to make something I never thought would be possible with a crockpot -- cheesecake.  I've only made the Jell-o brand 'No Bake' cheesecakes in the past, never a real, baked cheesecake.  My excuse has been that I don't have a springform pan.  However, that didn't stop me and my crockpot this time.

I did some looking around for recipes, bought some ingredients, and got to work.  The first attempt tasted good, but the texture was grainy like it had cottage cheese in it.  Hrmphh.  With the second attempt, I beat the heck out of the batter with two different mixers in the hopes of getting the lumps out, but no luck.  It was not only lumpy again but the flavor was worse than the first!  Arrrghhh!

Okay, time to get serious.  I did a little research on solving the lumpy batter issue and also changed a couple ingredients to improve texture and flavor.  And by jove, I think I've got it.  Ladies and gentlemen.....Crockpot Cheesecake.

Crockpot Cheesecake

1 heaping cup graham cracker crumbs
1-2 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons melted butter

2 8oz. containers cream cheese spread (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, 1-2 TBS sugar, and melted butter.  Press into the bottom and partway up the sides of the pan.  (I used a 9"x4" bread pan)

Turn your crockpot on high, place two canning rings in the bottom (or a trivet), and pour 2 cups warm water in the bottom, or enough water to come to the tops of the rings.

In a mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and flour.  Mix until smooth.     Add vanilla, eggs, and cream, mixing between each addition.  Pour batter into pan and place into crockpot.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 hours.  (The picture to the left is one of my lumpy batters.  If you follow my directions, it'll be nice and smooooooth -- no lumps.)

When the 2 1/2 hours is done, turn the crockpot off and let it set in the crockpot
for about 1 hour -- don't lift the lid!
Next, take the cheesecake out of the crockpot and place it in the fridge to cool for
at least 12 hours.  Slice and enjoy!

Extra tidbits: 
- The bread pan is the only pan I have that will fit into my largest crockpot, but if you have something different that works -- either metal or ceramic -- go for it.  I didn't grease the pan, and had no trouble getting slices out when serving.
- My cheesecakes rose above the top of the pan, sometimes dribbling over a little, and then they fell down in the middle when completely cooled.  I don't know if this is a normal thing to happen or not, but it doesn't affect the taste. 
- The crockpot lid can accumulate condensation, but it didn't seem to drip into the cheesecake.  If it does with yours, place a towel over the crockpot before putting the lid on.
- Refrigerating the cheesecake for 12 hours as opposed to just 3-4 hours really made a difference.  The texture and flavor didn't seem right if we ate it too soon, but it was delicious if we waited until the next morning to taste it.  Cheesecake for breakfast?  Sure, why not?!

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