Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Cheesecakes

I did a little experimenting with cheesecakes recently. Now, when I say experimenting, I mean these probably aren't what you think of when you think of cheesecake. And you know, that's a real shame, because these really are delicious. But if you're feeling a little iffy about them, don't worry. If you remember my mini gnome cheesecakes, you'll know that you can make little tiny versions of the cheesecakes to sample, and if you like it then just quadruple the recipe and make a big cheesecake. That's right, these cheesecakes can be made with empty tuna cans. Let's take them one at a time, and I apologize in advance for the monotonous photos.

Cheddar Apple Cheesecake



This may seem a little strange to anyone that lives outside of New England, but cheddar and apple really do go well together. And while this is a sweet cheesecake, I didn't want it to be too sweet, so I went with a pretzel crust. The sugar is actually an attempt to make the crust hold together a little better. After a few tests both ways, I think it worked. As you can see in the photo, I added a little cinnamon on top of the cheesecakes, which I think really makes it.

Crust:

5 Tbsp pretzel crumbs
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter

Filling:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Garnish:

Ground cinnamon, as needed

* Preheat oven to 350F.
* Prepare 4 empty tuna cans, as per the mini Gnome cheesecake recipe.
* Melt the butter, and toss with pretzel crumbs and sugar. Divide evenly among the tuna cans, about 2 Tbsp per can.
* Press crusts into the bottom of the cans.
* Blind-bake the crusts at 350F for 10 minutes.
* Allow crusts to cool completely on counter, and drop the oven temperature to 275F.
* Cream together the cream cheese and sugar.
* Mix in the egg.
* Mix in the apple sauce and cheddar.
* Divide the cream cheese mixture among the tuna cans.
* Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the cheesecakes.
* Bake at 275F for 15 minutes.
* Turn off the oven and leave the door open for one minute.
* Close the door and allow the cheesecakes to cool for 45 minutes with the oven.
* Chill overnight before serving.


Bacon and Onion Cheesecake



I'm not going to lie here. Savory cheesecakes freak people out, just like you already started freaking out when you read the name of this cheesecake. I think that this kind of cheesecake is actually what the tuna can form factor is perfect for. Yes, they are kind of intense to eat on their own. No, you wouldn't ever serve it for dessert. Tell you what, instead of thinking of it as cheesecake, how about if you think about it as a dip? The only difference between this and a cheeseball is that this is flat, and tastes way better.

Crust:

5 Tbsp pretzel crumbs
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter

Filling:

4 strips bacon
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
dash Worcestershire sauce
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 Tbsp whole milk

* Preheat oven to 350F.
* Prepare 4 empty tuna cans, as per the mini Gnome cheesecake recipe.
* Melt the butter, and toss with pretzel crumbs and sugar. Divide evenly among the tuna cans, about 2 Tbsp per can.
* Press crusts into the bottom of the cans.
* Blind-bake the crusts at 350F for 10 minutes.
* Allow crusts to cool completely on counter, and drop the oven temperature to 275F.
* Fry the bacon till nice and crispy. Remove from the pan to cool, but save the drippings.
* Saute the onion and bell pepper in the bacon drippings until nice and browned. When the onion gets transluscent, add the garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Allow to cool completely.
* Cream together the cream cheese and sour cream.
* Mix in the egg.
* Mix in the milk.
* Crumble the bacon, and fold into the cream cheese mixture with the veggies.
* Divide the cream cheese mixture among the tuna cans.
* Bake at 275F for 15 minutes.
* Turn off the oven and leave the door open for one minute.
* Close the door and allow the cheesecakes to cool for 45 minutes with the oven.
* Chill overnight before serving.


Chinese Five-Spice Cheesecake



Okay, so maybe the savory cheesecake was a little weird. And this one probably seems weird too. Don't worry, this is probably the most normal of these cheesecakes. Depending on who makes it, Chinese Five-Spice tends to have ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, things like that. Kind of like a pumpkin pie. I even threw in a gingersnap crust, which is excellent. You'll like this one.

Crust:

5 Tbsp gingersnap crumbs
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter

Filling:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp Chinese Five-Spice powder

* Preheat oven to 350F.
* Prepare 4 empty tuna cans, as per the mini Gnome cheesecake recipe.
* Melt the butter, and toss with gingersnap crumbs and sugar. Divide evenly among the tuna cans, about 2 Tbsp per can.
* Press crusts into the bottom of the cans.
* Blind-bake the crusts at 350F for 10 minutes.
* Allow crusts to cool completely on counter, and drop the oven temperature to 275F.
* Cream together the cream cheese and sugar.
* Mix in the egg.
* Mix in the spices.
* Divide the cream cheese mixture among the tuna cans.
* Bake at 275F for 15 minutes.
* Turn off the oven and leave the door open for one minute.
* Close the door and allow the cheesecakes to cool for 45 minutes with the oven.
* Chill overnight before serving.

4 comments:

  1. The cheddar apple cheesecake sounds really good to me. Maybe I'll make that my first cheesecake try. I'm confused, though. If I'm making a full-sized one is it four times the recipe you used for four tuna cans, or is it the same as what you used here? And how does the bigger pan affect the baking time?

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  2. My standard-size cheesecake calls for 2 lbs cream cheese, so you're looking at four times the recipe that I used for four tuna cans.

    As for time, I'm going to direct you to my earlier post on cheesecake.The basic idea is, bake it until it's just barely not wobbly anymore. That can be anywhere from an hour to almost two hours. You'll still want to leave the oven door open for a minute, then let the cheesecake cool in the oven, etc.

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  3. wow these sound like very interesting cheesecake recipes, definitely unique for sure. I have to try the first and last one. Well if it's good I think you should submit it to http://www.cheesecake-recipes.org

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  4. I love the cheddar apple cheesecake, it has a different flavor to it. Thanks.

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