How to Make Perfect Cheesecake
If we understand the scientific basis of cheesecake, we can make a wonderful, rich product. The primary rules for making cheesecake are these:
-Do not overmix. Over mixing cause a lot of air to get into the mix. Your cheesecake will puff proudly while baking, then deflate when cooked.and too much air to start with means a flattened area or a crack at the end.
-Cook gently in a slow over. Once again, we are avoiding a deflated cheesecake. Slow cooking allows that air, and some moisture from the wet ingredients to escape slowly.
-Do not overcook. Overcooking lowers the cheesecake even further - it goes from deflation into shrinkage. A shrunken cheesecake is a pitiable creature, one with a sorrowful presence on the table.
-Cool slowly. Just as you ice an injury to make swelling disappear, so cooling makes a cheesecake shrink . The slower, the better. Cooling in the oven with the door open so no cooking continues is a good trick.
-Use a springform pan. You cannot invert cheesecake to remove it from its pan!
A Guide to Cheeses for Cheesecake
Cottage Cheese - There are a wide range of cottage cheeses, all based on the amount of butterfat in their composition. Cheesecake is a luxurious product and is not the place for reduced-fat cheeses. Try to use creamed cottage cheese and if it is too moist, drain off the excess.
Cream Cheese - A classic, perhaps THE classic in US recipes. There are many commercial brands all of which very in quality. We recommend that you try them before committing them to a cheesecake. Have a bagel spread with cream cheese as the test.
Ricotta - Italy's version of a cheese cake is the ricotta pie or ricotta cake. Please do not use a skim-milk variety of ricotta. Purchasing it in a top Italian gourmet store ensures a good ricotta cheese cake. This cheesecake is a little drier.
Neufchâtel - The original cheese for cheesecake, coming to us from the French. Neufchatel ia a soft unripened cheese originally from Neufchatel-en-Bray, France. Cream cheese is the preferred substitute in the US, but you can buy Neufchâtel in gourmet stores.
New York Cheesecake
It is an ironic twist of fate that Lindy's cheesecake, the quintessential New York cheesecake was created by a man who did not like New York. Lindy's was made famous by Damon Runyon, author of Guys and Dolls, a quintessential New York work, not of culinary merit, but of musical excellence. He celebrated New York type characters and set them down in Lindy's, translated in his works to Mindy's. While tout New York, whether Broadway stars, vaudevillians, politicians, even gangsters flew to Lindy's for their cheesecake, its creator fled New York first for Boston and then for California. But the creamy richness of New York cheesecake was established and the tradition lives on in New York Delis and in recipes that abound from sea to shining sea.