Monday, May 12, 2008
Five Cheesecakes, Two Winners
Two things happened recently. First, I started losing sleep wondering what set apart a “New York” cheesecake from other cheesecakes (I'm funny about what I lose sleep over). Second, I suspected the recipe used for the cheesecake pop Daring Bakers challenge a few weeks ago might have been better than my normal recipe. To top it off, there were a few other cheesecakes I’ve had on my “to bake” list.
Clearly, a cheesecake challenge was in order.
The recipes I used in my challenge were:
1. London Cheesecake from “How to be a Domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson (recipe here) - the only sour cream-topped recipe in the group. I thought this one had a real nice texture, more solid than the others, but I also thought the filling was just a little bland in comparison. The sour-cream top wasn’t thick enough to impact the filling.
2. Lindy’s cheesecake (recipe here) - this recipe was different in that it was baked for a short time at high temperature (500 degrees) then reduced to a low temperature of 250 degrees. You’ll notice this cheesecake looks a little different too. This cheesecake was the least favorite of all testers except one, who liked it the most (It was still good, just not the favorite). I personally thought it was a tad dry and had a noticeable eggy taste.
3. Junior’s cheesecake (recipe here) – it was very creamy and light and had a great cream cheese flavor. It was just a bit sweeter than the others. Because I ended up with a surplus of egg whites, I used only whites in this cake, although the recipe called for whole eggs and yolks. I wonder if that made a difference (might be worth another taste test someday). The cake was a beautiful ivory color.
4. Sour Cream Cheesecake by Alton Brown (recipe here) – I thought this one was the tangiest but it seemed the sour cream diluted the cream cheese taste somewhat.
5. Cheesecake Pop Cheesecake from "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey" by Jill O'Connor (recipe here) – It was also very creamy and light and had a great cream cheese flavor.
The verdict? Junior’s and the Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey recipe were the overwhelming favorites. Both were creamy and had just enough zip to make the cream cheese flavor pop. Interestingly, these two cakes were the only two with flour or cornstarch added.
By the way, I now have an inkling of what New York cheesecake is. But I've decided it's not really important. Cheesecake is just plain delicious no matter how you tweak it. But, if you can shed some light, or you just want to talk cheesecake… please, feel free!