Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Cheesecakes!

I was so excited when I made these I snapped the pics before I took them out of the oven! 

Recently, I ordered a pack of four mini-springform pans (4 1/2").  It gave me the opportunity to make two different kinds of cheesecakes without overdoing it.  As you can see by the picture, I made vanilla with chocolate marble cheesecakes and pumpkin cheesecakes.

(This recipe is from October 2011's Food Network Magazine, from Emeril Lagasse)


1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 crushed wafers)
1 cup pecans, ground
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 pounds cream cheese, cubed and softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups canned pure pumpkin


1...Prepare the cheesecake:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the wafer crumbs, ground pecans and melted butter in a bowl.  Press into the bottom of a 12-inch springform pan.  In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the brown sugar and process until blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, processing until fully incorporated, then blend in the heavy cream.  Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and vanilla and blend until smooth.  Add the pumpkin and blend until smooth. 

2...Pour the filling over the crust in the pan.  Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until the cheesecake is just set.  Remove from the oven.  Use a knife to loosen the cake from the side of the pan; this will prevent it from splitting down the center.  Let cool completely before slicing.


For starters, this recipe has a bourbon-spiked cream topping that I didn't even bother with.  It just doesn't need it.

Instead of using vanilla wafer crumbs, I used a box of Walker's shortbread cookies.  I added 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  I combined these items in my food processor then pressed them into the pan as directed.  From there I BAKED the crust for 10 minutes to set.  I feel this helps the crust from becoming soggy.  It works.

BEWARE: Emeril lies!  Once the cheesecake is baked, LEAVE IT TO COOL IN THE OVEN.  Crack the oven door open just a little and turn off the heat.  Leave it like this to cool for an hour.  This is what will prevent your cheesecake from cracking!  I listened to Emeril the first time and used the knife to cut the cake away from the sides and it cracked all over the place. 

(This recipe originally appears here from


15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted                    
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.               

In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.               


Since I made this as a vanilla-chocolate-swirl cheesecake I deviated from the above recipe. 

Instead of graham crackers I used the Nabisco chocolate wafers for the crust.  In a food processor, I blended the chocolate wafers, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons butter.  Once pressed into the springform pan, I baked it for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven to set. 

For the chocolate swirl, I melted down one 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate square and combined it with 3/4 cup cheesecake (I did make the mini cheesecakes.  If I made a full sized cheesecake I would have melted down two 1-oz squares and mixed it with 1 1/2 cups cheesecake).  Using a teaspoon, I dropped 3 dollops of the chocolate on top and used a knife to swirl.  YUMMY!

I almost forgot!  I used a vanilla bean for this recipe.  It made a HUGE difference.  So when you cut into the cheesecake, you can see the vanilla flecks in it.  It was so much better!!!

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