After a few months of increasingly forceful hints from Anion, I finally dusted off my springform pan and tackled cheesecake. I wanted to follow the Martha Stewart recipe from the bible Baking Handbook, but it would have produced 25% more cheesecake than the Test Kitchens recipe, and a 9″ cheesecake is already plenty of dessert. Also, 2.5# of cream cheese isn’t cheap, even at Sam’s, so I had no desire to buy 3.5# instead.
I think it was my other culinary mentor, Alton Brown, who said baking was not an exact science so much as an exacting science. This project exemplified that concept. Everything had to come to room temperature; each ingredient had to be beaten in, softly and slowly, one at a time; and the cake had to bake for almost two hours at a low but well-defined temperature. And we’re not even going to discuss the complex cooling curve. The end product was certainly delicious, on par with quality cheesecake and leagues ahead of the cheap supermarket offerings. I don’t know that it was worth the effort or the expenditure, though.