Monday, March 18, 2013

White Chocolate Cheesecake- A Crisis and A Recipe

Did any of you know that I love to bake? Tis a truth. A very veritable truth. I love to bake. There is something very stupendous, soothing, and scrumptiously satisfying about it. Especially when I can change a recipe to make it more my own, make it even tastier, make it a signature of mine. You know what I mean?

A friend or two of mine also enjoy baking (huzzah for commonalities!), and are interested in a recipe that I have: WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE! Doesn't it just sound perfectly lovely? Yes. Yes it does. And that's because it is. Instead of sharing JUST the recipe, I decided to share the story behind it. Which involves more than one crisis, and a few pictures.

My friend Shari (name has been changed, partially because I can't spell it, and partially because the restaurant called Shari's makes really good pie) asked me to make a dessert for the Young Women's New Beginnings activity. She loves chocolate (like all righteous women), and asked if I could make White Chocolate Cheesecake for 60 people. I told her I didn't have a recipe, but that I'd be happy to help her out. I immediately got a hold of my friend Karen. Karen is GREAT at cheesecakes. She is great at a lot of things, but she is a bit of a cheesecake queen. She sent me the recipe that she likes. Karen is a good woman with good tastes. She did not fail me.

I got the ingredients needed for a trial run of the recipe. It involves a whole lot of cream cheese, a whole lot of eggs, a whole lot of white chocolate, and a whole lot of time. Most of the time involves waiting, which can be VERY difficult. Like, 10 hours of waiting. Seriously.

The trial batch went PERFECTLY. I was having lots of tastings from the bowl, just to make sure it was all going according to plan. And it was.

A few days later on Monday, I got a call from Shari, asking me if I was on schedule to have everything done in time for Wednesday evening. This was a bit of a shock to me, since I had somehow understood the date to be in about a month, not in a few days. I panicked, and threw myself into the work. But first, I had to go shopping. And have interesting conversations with unsuspecting grocery clerks.

And then I spent all Tuesday afternoon separating eggs (which I actually like doing- maybe because it's involved in some of my favorite recipes), whipping cream cheese, dumping sugar, melting and folding in white chocolate, and making a glorious mess of my tiny kitchen.

Comment by Andrew: Note the white-chocolate induced delirium about her eyes.  It was about this point I began worrying.

And isn't my pink mixer adorable? I think so. And that apparently unattractive apron is actually my Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory apron that I wear whenever I'm baking something that involves chocolate. It's practically stained from all of the flour and chocolate. It's a worthy companion in the kitchen.

What had started as just tasting for fun and quality control became much less exciting the more that was forced to sample. It became very unpleasant.

Part of the chaos of this all was that I was also doing some full time child care for another friend of mine. Three adorable little blonde girls under the age of six. Yup. Busy times.

By about 6:45 on Wednesday, the time that I was supposed to have all the cheesecakes prepped, cut, and ready to serve at the church kitchen, I felt very differently about the recipe than I had at the beginning. When I had first made it, it was like the heavens had opened, and all of choirs of baker heaven were singing hallelujahs! But now things had changed very drastically. Instead of the cheesecake being the sun rising above the horizon, sending its shining rays upon me, I saw it was in actuality a giant UFO.

Instead of a 10 inch springform pan, a spaceship with blinking lights. Instead of heavenly rays, an alien tractor beam. Instead of basking in cheesecake light and happy, I was being pulled up by the fierce aliens (which apparently are the same ones that I offended during my French presentation when I declared my status as a pizza in front of my class, and they were still very offended by me- and yes, that's an actual link). I was completely and totally disillusioned. Especially when I took a "check piece" from a cake before it had cooled long enough- don't eat cheesecake warm, folks! Don't do it!

Andrew's comment again:  I'm not sure what the aliens have to do with anything.  When traumatic experiences happen, however, they usually get involved at some point.  Even if only in the pictures afterwards.

Despite all the madness, Andrew managed to scoop me and the cheesecakes up and deliver us on time at the church building. It was a miracle. I served the cheesecakes onto festively colored plates, sprinkled them with shaved chocolate, and distributed forks. And then it was over.


Because I had been supplied with pie tins with pre-made graham cracker crusts (not as good as the recipe crust, just so you know), there were some miscalculations. The pie tins were much smaller than the called for 10 inch springform pan (although you can use a regular pie pan, just make sure it's big enough). So each batch made TWO small cheesecakes instead of one big one. I made enough batches to make six large cheesecakes, but I wound up with way more cheesecake. Try ten cheesecakes. TEN!

I gave out all I could, but people didn't want all of them. So I sent them to a place from whence no goodies ever return. I sent them to... Andrew's work. Yup. Goodies go quickly there. Seriously.

Comment by Andrew:  My department has roughly 150 nerds all less than two years out of college.  Needless to say, any such goodies taken there might as well be tossed into a black hole.

Comment by Tashya: In fact, that's where some banana bread is going this week!

Now that it's been a good while since I've had any White Chocolate Cheesecake, I like it again. And I'm more than willing to pass on the goodness of this recipe.

Also by Andrew: Did it really happen that fast?  I'm not so sure.  She hasn't actually met any cheesecake lately in person, so I'm hoping it is true.  At least she can think on it fondly - I couldn't mention it without her gagging for several weeks.

And now, the recipe. With commentary and tips. Anything in pink is my addition, and you don't have to follow it if you have your own way of doing things.

SCRUMDIDILYUMPTIOUS WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE (You can change the name if you're making it for a more elegant affair. Maybe something more like Black and White Chocolate Formal Cheesecake- and then add some crushed Oreos on the top for the black part.)

Graham Cracker Crust:
7 cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

For graham crackers, I just use all eight that come in a pack. To crush them, I put them in a large ziplock bag, and then roll a can over them a bunch. Or, if I'm bored, I put them in a bowl and use a can for some mortar and pestle action.

Combine crackers, butter and sugar. Press into bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 10 inch springform pan. (You can also use a regular pie plate, just make sure it's large enough. And this crust tastes better than the pre-made one.)

4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened (don't stick a package in the microwave)
1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (yes, you'll have leftover egg whites- make an omelette for breakfast tomorrow!)
8 oz white baking chocolate, melted and cooled

Separating eggs- if you don't have one of those eggs separator gadgets (which I don't), you can use the two halves of the egg shell (be careful not to pop the yolk), or just use your hands.

To melt the chocolate, follow the instructions on the package. For one ounce of Baker's white chocolate, microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then another 30 seconds, or until chocolate is almost melted. Add 10 seconds for each additional ounce (yes, some math required- feel free to phone a friend if necessary). The squares generally hold their shape. Stir it until it is smooth. If your chocolate seizes (gets grainy and hard) due to moisture coming in contact with chocolate while melting, you can fix it! Use a wire whisk to stir in a liquid (like warm water or milk, melted butter, vegetable oil or shortening) 1 Tbs at a time until it's smooth again.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until well blended. Add egg and yolks; beat on low until just combined. Gently stir in white chocolate. (Make sure it's not hot, you want it to be cooled. I used a rubber spatula to fold it in.) Pour over the crust, and then place your pan on a baking sheet. (Place a pan of water on the rack beneath the cheesecake. This will help keep it from drying out.) Bake at 350* or until the center is just set. (To check, touch the top lightly or gently shake the pan. If a small area in the middle jiggles or seems soft, it's done.) Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges. Cool one hour longer, then refrigerate over night (or about 10 hours).

You can serve this cheesecake plain, or with any type of topping that suits your fancy. I might suggest a strawberry or raspberry topping. Let me know if you find anything remarkably tasty. I want to try it!


  1. Wow, master cookstress. I'm impressed. I don't like cheesecake, I have never made cheesecake, so that only increases my impressed-ness.

    1. Do you like yellow cake with chocolate frosting? Because that recipe will be coming up in a little bit. If not, tell me what you do like, and I'll find a brilliant recipe just for you. Because Pook, you're definitely worth it.

  2. Now I know why Cheesecake Factory does such a brisk business - I don't have talent, time or springform pans for this much work! What an artist you are, Tashya. For my New Beginnings program we just bought sugar cookies from the store. Hope all the Young Women remain active in the Church even though we didn't have your fantabulouso dessert. :-) Love you and your stories and your pink mixer. - Aunt Debbie

  3. Ha ha! That was hilarious! I love your writing style - thanks for stopping by my blog. Now I'm your newest follower. :-)

    1. I'm glad you stopped by- my newest post is actually inspired by your post regarding the insensitivity of technology. Way to be an inspiration!

  4. Great story! Glad everything ended up working out and the aliens did't take you. :)