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Cheesecake is a very popular dessert that can be made from several different cheeses, but the most popular type used in recipes is cream cheese. This dessert can be made in many different flavors, and may be topped with fruit or chocolate. When making a cheesecake from scratch, it is generally important to have the cheese at room temperature and properly mix the ingredients together. During cooking, the best results are often achieved if a spring-form pan in a water bath is used, and if the cheesecake is baked for the right amount of time. After baking, cheesecake should be chilled before eating.
Most cheesecakes have crusts. The most common of these are made from graham crackers or cookies. To make a crust, the crackers or cookies should be finely crushed and mixed with melted butter. When the desired consistency is achieved, the crust can be pressed into the bottom of the baking pan.
When preparing a cheesecake from scratch, it is important that the cheese being used is at room temperature. This will make it easier to mix properly, as cold cheese will require more beating by a mixer, which adds too much air to the cheese and can make the cheesecake bubble or collapse during baking. If using cream cheese for a cheesecake, a block of cream cheese should be used as opposed to a container of whipped cream cheese. For best results, the cheese should be beaten by itself, before the other ingredients are added.
The best way to blend the cheese with the other ingredients when making a cheesecake from scratch is to use either a hand-held electric mixer or an electric stand mixer. These usually help achieve a smooth batter. When combining, however, care should be taken to ensure that the cheesecake filling is not over-mixed.
After the cheesecake batter is poured into the crust, the dish should, ideally, be baked in a spring-form pan. This type of round pan has a separate bottom that connects, via spring hinges, to its sides. After the dessert is fully cooked and chilled, the pan can be taken apart, and the sides removed, so the cake is easy to display and serve. This type of pan can be purchased from many different kitchen or discount stores.
A water bath is often called for when baking a cheesecake from scratch. Baking in this way insures that the oven is not too dry, which can make a cheesecake crack or dry out. To make a water bath, the filled spring-form pan should be placed inside a larger baking pan, and the bigger pan should be filled with water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan. A cheesecake should only be baked for as long as a recipe calls for. It may not look fully cooked after the required cooking amount of time, but it will usually set after being cooled and then chilled in the refrigerator.
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