Continuing my cheesecake kick (this is #4) I found this recipe in one of the magazines I’ve got lying around. It stuck out for the maple flavor so I thought it would be interesting to try. This was the first cheesecake that I’ve made that required the water bath. To be honest, since I’m not an expert in cheesecake, I’m not sure exactly why some do and don’t require the water bath. I can tell you that I would prefer not to do the water bath. It’s a lot of extra work and the cheesecakes I’ve made without it have turned out just fine. I’m not saying that I would ignore a future recipe that calls for a water bath but it wouldn’t be on the top of my list.
The cheesecake itself turned out good. The only problem was that the walnuts in the crust overpowered any other flavor. Unless you took a bite of just the filling, all you really tasted was the walnuts. Pretty disappointing although it is a maple-NUT cheesecake. And then there is matter of the chocolate drizzle, or in my case, the chocolate puddle. An “optional” step was to melt some chocolate and drizzle it on and since the picture looked cool (I’m definitely a sucker for a picture of food that looks “cool”) I decided to do it but, as you can tell from the picture, it didn’t work out. That is mostly due to the fact that I tried to do it with the spoon, rather than putting it in a bottle and squeezing it out. The other downside was that it didn’t really add anything to the cheesecake (flavor wise).
(recipe take from Taste of Home magazine, February/March 2013 issue)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 TBSP sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
4 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 TSP maple flavoring
1/2 TSP almond extract
1/8 TSP grated lemon peel (I used dried)
3 eggs lightly beaten
Place a greased 9 inch springform pan on a double layer of heavy duty foil. Wrap foil securely around the pan. In a small bowl, mix the cracker crumbs, walnuts, sugar and melted butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides (about 1 inch – if you have enough. I never seem to but it works out without it up the side). Place pan on backing sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
For the filling, in a bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Beat in the maple flavoring, extract and lemon peel. Add the eggs; beat on low speed until just blended. Pour into crust. Place pan on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 inch of hot water to the larger pan.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the center is just set and the top appears dull. Remove springform pan from the water bath. Cool cheesecake on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan and remove the foil. Cool for another hour. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the rim from the pan and serve. Drizzle with chocolate if desired.