Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie

I can't begin to explain how excited I am about this new group of food blogging challenges. This group cooks a different recipe each week from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home To Yours cookbook. I was so happy when I stumbled upon this group on the blog Culinary Concoctions by Peabody; I had just received this cookbook and immediately fell in love with it. So I was thrilled to have a reason to make a recipe from it each week.

The first challenge for me was Dorie's Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake. Just looking at this recipe made my mouth water so I was super excited about cooking it. I've only made one cheesecake before this one, so I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but I think mine came out pretty well.

First the recipe:

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake

For the Crust

30 gingersnaps (or a scant 2 cups graham cracker crumbs) (I used graham cracker crumbs)

2 tbsp light brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the Apples

1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter

3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths

2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar

For the Filling

1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

6 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp apple cider (I used apple juice)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup heavy cream

Apple jelly, for glazing, or confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)

To Make the Crust:

Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups. (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the food processor.) Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you're using it, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they'll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples:

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.Getting Ready to Bake: Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling:

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.
Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center--if the center shimmies, that's just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan's latch and release and remove the sides.

The first thing that comes to mind about the end result of this recipe is YUM! I could not have been more pleased with the appearance of the cake (no cracks!!), and the taste was out of this world. I will have to say that the color didn't photograph particularly well, but take my word for it, this cake is fabulous!
I served it to most of my family on Sunday night, and it was very well received. My niece was especially excited about the cake. I really think she would've eaten the whole thing if we would've let her. She also is now insisting on me making the cake again and having a special "Emma Day" to eat it!
Stay tuned for next week's challenge; I may actually be more excited about the next challenge than I was about this one!
If you want more info about the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, visit the blog at http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/. There are also links on that page to all of the other members so you can check out their versions of the Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake!


slush said...

You did a fantastic job! Beautiful cheesecake you got there. So glad you joined us!!

Lemon Tartlet said...

Ain't it delicious? Yours looks perfect, and I don't blame her for wanting her own day for this. Ain't it an awfull trial for us to have to sample all these goodies?

Judy said...

It's a good thing we can freeze this cheesecake -- it's too great a temptation to eat it all!

Erin said...

Yours looks great! The filling looks nice and creamy!

Madam Chow said...

Cooking for an appreciative family has got to be one of the most satisfying things to do! Your cake looks great!

Jhianna said...

It looks fantastic! I love seeing all the different versions too.

Dianne's Dishes said...

Looks great! It's so fun to try a new yummy dessert each week! :)

Engineer Baker said...

Don't you love when you get requests for another installment of whatever you bake? My boss asked where he could place an order :-P It looks delicious!

Jacob said...

Yea my wife makes a mean cheescake. This "Tuesdays with Dorie" is going to be good ,no bad, for me. Especially if it involves making more cheescakes.

MrsPresley said...

great job! glad you joined us :)

Peabody said...

Looks great. Glad that you were able to join the group!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

looks great--it was a fabulous cake!