Nearly everyone has a dish that they are great at cooking. Whether it is making a delicious spaghetti bolognese or grilling the perfect salmon with a mango salsa everyone has a dish that they can put on to impress. Yet for most beginner cooks that dish is always a dinner. Very few risk it all and try to make a dessert. In fact if you ask most people they will say they can cook but they can not bake. The truth is that baking is not so different to cooking. If you can cook, you can bake. Let me take you on a quick tutorial of an easy to make, sure to impress, cheesecake.
I do have one tip for novice bakers out there and that is to buy a spring form pan. If you have ever seen a perfectly round cake and wondered how they were able to get it out of the pan, this is the secret. The pan comes with a hinge on the side that once you click it, removes the sides. This ensures you can take your perfect cake out of the pan with ease.
While that was a general baking tip, my best cheesecake tip is to let your cream cheese soften at room temperature. If you use cream cheese straight from the fridge it will make some chunky cheesecake. If you use some warm cream cheese it will be oh so smooth.
To make the crust of your cheesecake you need three parts. Graham cracker crumbs (1 cup), brown sugar (1 tablespoon) and butter (4 tablespoons). If you want to give it an extra twist you could add some ginger snaps (½ cup) to give it a spicy end flavor. Simply throw these ingredients into a food processor and mix. Once ready spread along the bottom of your pan and put in the oven, on medium, for ten minutes.
Now take your pumpkin puree (you can buy this canned) and spread it out over some kitchen paper to absorb the moisture. Take your dried pumpkin puree and mix it with cream cheese (16 ounces) and brown sugar (⅔ cup). Next add your eggs (3), vanilla extract (1 teaspoon) and spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves nutmeg) and mix it all again. If you can, use a blender to make it extra creamy. Simply take this mixture and spread it out on the graham cracker base that is already finished. Bake it in your oven on high for 50 minutes.
If you want to make an extra tasty topping for your cheesecake, take some bourbon (2-3 tablespoon), sour cream (½ cup) and sugar (⅔ cup) and mix it all together. Then spread this across the top and you have just made your first cheesecake. Congratulations.