Friday, November 26, 2010

A Thanksgiving Re-cap

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!  It was our first being allergy friendly, and I cooked for everyone; hence the blog hiatus the past few days.  I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of preparing an allergy-friendly Thanksgiving to the extended and immediate family.  Around here, you don’t change up Thanksgiving, we are all about tradition; and that’s exactly what I did.  We opted not to travel to my hometown this year to visit the extended family on my side; they were not very understanding of our predicament.  My father assumed that we would just bring a separate meal for our daughter, he didn’t understand that we don’t segregate our food in our family.  I didn’t think it would be much of a holiday meal if everyone wasn’t treated the same.  With that in mind, I started preparing the menu with some of our family favorites of turkey, ham, stuffing, mac-n-cheese, broccoli casserole, sweet potatoes, and a fabulous vanilla bean cheesecake.  With some fabulous additions from my mother-in-law, we were set.  The day before Thanksgiving I was hoping to take the kids to the movies and relax, but that went out the window when I started my prep.  I tried to get as much done ahead of time as I could to ease the following day; I ended up being awake till one in the morning with my cheesecake.  So tired the following day, but I take my cheesecakes very seriously.  Anyone who has made one before knows that you cannot just shock them into a different temperature or they will crack.  You have to pre-heat the oven, the ingredients need to be room temperature, and then you pay attention to the baking process.  When it starts to brown around the outside of the top, keep the oven door closed while turning the oven off.  When the cheesecake top is set, no jiggle room, I crack the oven door to allow a continued decrease in temperature.  When my cheesecake is room temperature it can be placed in the fridge.  The temperature slowly decreasing and the water bath it bakes in make for the creamiest cheesecake ever.  So yummy!

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

4 packages 8 oz. cream cheese
5 eggs
16 oz. sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 in. vanilla bean; split and scrape out beans.
¼ cup orange juice; pulp free.
2 tbs corn starch

Make sure ingredients start off at room temperature, it makes for a very creamy finish.  Start with your cream cheese to mixing bowl, add sugar and beat on low, add sour cream and orange juice slowly.  Add Corn starch and eggs one at a time, combining eggs before adding the next, add vanilla.  Do not over mix.  Pour mixture over crust of your choice in spring form pan wrapping with aluminum foil.  Add mixture to water bath and bake in 325 degree preheated oven.  When top of cheesecake starts to brown, keep oven closed and turn heat off.  The rest of cheesecake will slowly set up.  Keep oven door cracked to decrease heat more once cheesecake center is set.  When cooled to room temperature, can place in fridge.  Super creamy, a fave of my family’s.