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Triple Cheesecake

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Triple Cheesecake

rewritten 3.30.16 This is really straightforward and delightful and even tastes better the next day making it a perfect make-ahead dessert. Since it needs time to cool and set, you have to plan this one out anyway so why not have some old time fun with the scheming? There are certain recipes that have become standards in the United States that are rooted solidly in the history of food. Cheesecake should be considered one of the legacy foods that have seen some updating through time. This recipe utilizes some of the updates and some of the old fashioned food-ways to get the job done and it’s a lot of fun, as desserts go, to slow down and analyze this one when you’re done.

Below the basics for getting this done with all store bought ingredients are instructions to take more control of some of the ingredients. Cheesecake appeared in ancient Greece so if you’re familiar with cooking, you can get pretty authentic with all of these ingredients and add a day of preparation. If you’re not familiar with curds and whey and making Ricotta Cheese, this might be a wonderful entry point for safe experimentation!

Triple Cheesecake

Graham cracker crusts are more fun if you don't measure too seriously. This blind baked crust held up for a couple days and stayed fantastic even with the soft cake and visits to the refrigerator to stay cool. Breaking your own crumbs is the only way to go.

For an 8 or 9-inch Cake
Ricotta Cheese – 1.5 Cups
Mascarpone – 8 oz
Cream Cheese – 8 oz
Heavy Cream – 1 Cup
Sugar – 1/2 Cup
Graham Crackers – Box (14 oz)
Lemon Juice – 1/4 Cup
Gelatin – 1 teaspoon
Unsalted Butter – 5 Tablespoons

The Crust
Melt five to six Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter. Crumble the whole batch of graham up and then add the melted Butter. Heat the oven to 350-degrees. Combine the two forming a paste that’s gristly and holds together. This is the crust. A little reminiscent of sandcastle construction, form the sides of the crust three-fourths up the sides of the Springform Pan. You’ll have more crumbs than you need for the sides and bottom. Ensure even coverage. Put that in the oven no more than fifteen minutes but probably ten – don’t let it BROWN too much!

Filling Preparation
Sprinkle a Teaspoon of Gelatin over 2 Tablespoons of cold water; let it stand about 10 minutes.
Elsewhere, in a bowl, beat a Cup of cold Heavy Cream until it’s Whipped Cream; refrigerate.
With a mixer on High Speed, beat 8 oz Cream Cheese, Cup and-a-half Ricotta, Half a Cup of Sugar and Salt about 5 minutes. When it’s uniform and light, add the Mascarpone and a Quarter-Cup of Lemon Juice.

Finishing Up
Microwave the Gelatin 5 to 10 seconds until melted; scrape it into the mixing bowl mixture and beat until it’s well incorporated. Fold in the Whipped Cream you made above. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and shape the surface smoothly or with a pattern using a soft bowl scraper. Refrigerate 3 hours.

Triple Cheesecake

Not much remains of the Triple Cheesecake I made for Easter dessert. Having it with an apple is pretty natural and with so many milk derived ingredients, I passed this off as an apple and a book for dinner with a "glass of milk." Adult time.

DIY Ingredients

I recently doubted the veracity of Cream Cheese as a “cheese” and was surprised to learn that indeed, cream cheese is a legitimate type of blended farmer’s cheese. It’s a mash up of Sour Cream and Buttermilk and whey cheese all used in different ratios. The Philadelphia Brand certainly is fabulous and I’ve been a fan since childhood, but I wondered what a cheesecake might be like without it or, I wrongly wondered, ‘before’ it. A recipe at A Cozy Kitchen illustrates that DIY Cream Cheese is really an extension of the other cheeses that go into this Triple Cheesecake – so make it or buy it; it’s authentic enough.

Ricotta Cheese

…is a type of Whey Cheese because it comes from the whey that remains from making Sheep’s Milk cheeses – today we make it from Whole Milk. Heat Half a Gallon of Milk until it’s just about to simmer/bubble. That’s near 200-degrees. Keep the milk moving so the bottom doesn’t burn. Remove it from the heat and add Three Tablespoons of Lemon Juice and half a teaspoon Salt. Stir it once to get it mixed in and let it sit for ten minutes. Skim curds off the top with a slotted spoon into a Cheesecloth and add another Tablespoon of Lemon Juice to the whey/heated milk. With the Cheesecloth over a bowl, in another ten minutes, pour the whey through the Cheesecloth and leave it an hour. What remains in the cloth filter will be Ricotta Cheese. Depending on the Milk, you could be looking at about a Cup and-a-half of it to use in the Triple Cheesecake recipe.

Mascarpone

…is not considered cheese any more than Whipped Cream is. Though the methods for making Ricotta are similar to those that make Mascarpone, simply put, Mascarpone is Thickened Cream. Bring Two Cups of Heavy Cream to 200-degrees and add a Tablespoon of Lemon Juice. Keep stirring very well for five minutes or more over the heat – it’s tricky, don’t let it boil, don’t let it burn and don’t whip it up. Remove it from the heat when it ‘coats the back of a spoon’ which means it’s thick enough to leave a valley if you run your finger through it. Let it sit twenty minutes then pour it through a Cheesecloth that’s over a bowl. Very little Whey will result and what’s in the cloth will be Mascarpone, a thickened cream used in desserts like Tiramisu and Cheesecake! It’s delicious on fruit and Triple Cheesecake only needs a Cup of your yield.

Triple Cheesecake

Flavored Whipped Cream

One good variation to consider would be flavoring the Whipped Cream with a few drops of extract of your choice. A common phenomenon of flavor is that opposites in small amounts enhance the primary flavor. So a little nutty Almond Extract could enhance the mild taste of lemon used in the process. An extra dash of Salt might bring out the sweetness of the Sugar. A favorite of mine is a drop or two of Almond Extract and two of Vanilla Extract; it adds just enough tang to turn Whipped Cream into a flavor puzzler that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Gelatin

…is the product of connective tissues and bones that have been boiled down. It’s collagen. The process for making Gelatin is now an industrial one, but even Julia Childs had no fear of making it at home. If you’ve seen the “jelly” from making your own chicken stock, you’ve seen that you can make Gelatin at home but you’ll have to hunt for that recipe somewhere else. The powdered variety is good enough for us; basic Gelatin imparts no flavor and suspends and binds tons of things you never thought possible from marshmallows to photography and can be used again and again. It’s nothing to freak out about but the production of it is probably not something you want your kitchen smelling like either!

Graham Crackers

This is not a part of the ancient Greece cheesecake they knew. But a good foodie question is what makes Graham Crackers so different? The taste comes not only from sugar in the cracker-making process, but the use of Graham Flour which came about in the late 1820’s. Unlike other flours, Graham Flour mills different parts of the wheat to different sizes and then recombines them. Other Whole Wheat Flours use less of the wheat and mills it all at once to be the same size. Since baking is science-magic, these microscopic and small scale differences make a big impact. Graham Crackers include flour, graham flour, baking soda, salt, butter, brown sugar and sometimes honey to achieve their unique flavor. When Graham Flour can’t be found, Wheat Flour is combined with Wheat Bran to approximate the different mill sizes for texture. Despite that, here’s a recipe with just one kind of flour and another using graham flour and one that combines wheat flour with wheat bran.

By itself, this cheesecake is subtle and shows the home chef just how much can be done at home! Creams, thicked and whipped, Cheeses creamed and curdled and all of it within reach of the 100% DIY or 0% DIY chef. No matter how you arrive at it, the cheesecake improves with age and is smooth all on its own. Look to our Facebook page as we spend the Spring occasionally testing new additions and variations!

Triple Cheesecake

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