Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Baking with peach (part 2): Peach Cheesecake


Second recipe I made with peaches was a cheesecake! This cheesecake was brought to my attention by someone from the Cookinglight bulletin board (thanks funnybone!), a forum I frequent.

After looking at the recipe, which is pretty high fat, I decided to twist the recipe a bit. This is what I usually do to any cheesecake recipes. First, I will reduce the amount of cream cheese, which contributed to most of the fat. Next, I like to substitute 1/3 cream cheese for normal cream cheese. So far, I have pretty good result with this formula. And I always use 3 blocks of cheese instead of 4 blocks, the standard amount of cream cheese in most cheesecake recipe.

I have also substituted the gingersnap cookies with the honey graham crackers that I have on hand. Instead of using all 1/3 cream cheese, I used 2 blocks of cream cheese plus one block of 1/3 cream cheese this time. The improvement on texture is drastic. The heesecake I made with 1/3 cream cheese sometime came out slightly dry and not as creamy as the full fat version. But then again, I often made the mistake of overbaking my cheesecakes. So maybe I shall not blame the low-fat cheese for my dry cake..

Although this recipe is a bit more work compared to the rest of the cheesecakes I made, it is well worth the effort. It's so creamy and smooth that it simply glides through my tongue. This is so good! And the texture is better than the rest of the cheesecake I made. Seriously. I am going to try this with other fruits next time. Maybe straberries.

The recipe actually called for a glaze, but I think it is really unnecessary. The cheesecake with peach compote itself is delicious enough. On a second thought, maybe I should glaze half of the cake and compare the result?

To glaze or not to glaze, that is the question.

Peach Cheesecake
(Adapted from Bon App├ętit June 2002)
*click
here for the original recipe*

Crust
2 cups of crushed graham cracker crumb
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling
4 small peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, pitted, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 8-ounce package 1/3 cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze (omitted)
1/2 cup peach preserves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 large peach, peeled, pitted, very thinly sliced

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Add melted butter to graham cracker crumb until evenly moistened. Press crumbs over bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake crust until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Cool on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

For filling:
Combine peaches, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon juice in heavy large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and peaches are juicy, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until peaches are tender and juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Cool compote.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Spoon half of cheese mixture into crust. Spoon peach compote over by tablespoonfuls, spacing apart. Top with remaining cheese mixture.

Place large piece of foil on oven rack. Place pan with cheesecake on foil. Bake until puffed, slightly jiggly in the center, about 1 hour. Then the oven off and let the cake continue to cook with the remaining heat in the oven for 30 minutes or until set. Place hot cheesecake on rack; cool 5 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen. Place cheesecake, uncovered, on rack in refrigerator and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.)

For glaze:
Combine preserves and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until glaze comes to simmer. Strain into small bowl. Release pan sides; place cheesecake on platter. Spread glaze over top of cheesecake to within 1/4 inch of edge. Chill cheesecake until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. Arrange peach slices in center of cake and serve.

Makes 12 servings.

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