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Suvir Saran

Individual/Mini Cheesecakes

129 posts in this topic

Thanks for the clarification, Suvir. I have been catching up for the past two weeks following a week vacation.  That's just the way it seems to work. So I have not been posting much lately, though I have been following a number of threads. I have been trying to do a peach & mango cobbler or Clafouti for the past week and have not gotten it done yet. Soon...soon. I have been following this thread in interest, because I want to do a few individual desserts like the cheese cakes. What kind of 3 inch pans are you using? Plain aluminum? Are they straight vertical walls? The idea of using the flan rings like alanamona does appeals to me...partly because I can also use them for rustic tarts.  :smile:

I am using what the store called baby tin molds. They are like your usual round cake tins. But much smaller in size. 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches in depth (height).

Keep us posted about the mango-peach cobbler. :smile:

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Sinclair,

Many thanks for your insightful posts. You have been most generous and kind.:smile:

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Where can I buy some really very small cheesecake molds?

What would the smallest size one could use be?

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I've been using "Cheesecake Extraordinaire", the book Sincalir referenced, for a few years and my customers have loved every cheesecake flavor I've made. To make sure my cheesecakes don't crack I spray pan release on the sides and bottom of my baking pan and run an offset spatula around the outside edge of the cake once it comes out of the oven. Let it cool at room temperature before refrigerating.

Sinclair's advice is great-

Here's a basic crust recipe from the cookbook for a 9" cheesecake:

1 3/4 C. graham crackers or vanilla wafers, finely crushed

1/2 C. butter, melted

Mix until combined. Press into bottom and sides of pan. At this point I'll prebake the crust.


Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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suvir,

as i mentioned in my earlier post, you can use individual ring molds. they come in all shapes and sizes. the smallest i've used is about 2"wx1.5"h (this size was nearly perfect for a tasting portion, remember, cheesecake is pretty rich)

these are available at j.b. prince, but aren't cheap (3-5 each with a discount if you buy more than 10 i think). the positive is that you can buy ten and do multiple bakes. as cheesecakes keep for a couple of days, you can unmold them and use the rings again.

you may be able to find the ring molds cheaper at zabars (surprisingly, they do sell some stuff cheaper). but i would recommend stainless steel as some flavorings/components may cause discoloration of the cheesecake if you're using other metals.

you said you were using mini muffin tins, how is that working for you? my feeling on that is i wouldn't like the sloping sides. the ring molds give a much cleaner look on the plate. you can make a simple tuile and sauce accompaniment which wouldn't take too much time or effort.

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Cheesecake is extremely verstile. I mix it with flourless chocolate cake batter and get a "flourless white and chocolate cake". I layer them with mutliple flavors, like chocolate and orange, chocolate and praline, chocolate and coffee. You can do as many layers as you want. I do a white, milk and semi sweet in one pan. I bake them in whole sheet pans and cut them into petite fours or use flexipans in odd shapes to bake them. You can even bake it on top of a semi baked cake.

How do you get your cheesecake batters to layer, instead of combining? I've swirled two flavors together but never layered them. I'd love to do this for one of my customers.


Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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you said you were using mini muffin tins, how is that working for you?  my feeling on that is i wouldn't like the sloping sides.  the ring molds give a much cleaner look on the plate.  you can make a simple tuile and sauce accompaniment which wouldn't take too much time or effort.

Exactly what bothers me..... the sloping side does not look good at all.

Do you think it is easy to get a 2 inch mold??? We are using 3x2 inch molds now... I would love using the 2 inch ones. Am somewhat nervous, maybe misguided in fearing using the rings. Are they easy to work with?

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suvir,

if you want me to come to the restaurant today, i have some molds at home. i can demo it for you. really, no kidding. i'm unemployed right now so if you need some help just call. pm me if you're interested, i don't live far away from amma. no, i'm not a crazy stalker :laugh: , i'm just bored at home :smile: .

i'll bring the rings molds and you can see what you think.

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suvir,

if you want me to come to the restaurant today, i have some molds at home.  i can demo it for you.  really, no kidding.  i'm unemployed right now so if you need some help just call.  pm me if you're interested, i don't live far away from amma.  no, i'm not a crazy stalker  :laugh: , i'm just bored at home  :smile: .

i'll bring the rings molds and you can see what you think.

I just called JB Prince. They do not make tins smaller than 2 3/4" x 1.5" . Which is not much smaller than what we have already.

They also suggested the ring molds... and said they were not sure if a cheesecake could be made using them... the issue of theh water bath as the helpful customer service phone person pointed out...but that can be worked around, as I have discovered from this thread.

A PM is on its way to you... thanks for your offer. :smile:

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If your a chef with a steady hand you can bake the cheesecake in a full sheet pan and then cut out to size-even using a round cutter. So long as your cheese is semi frozen it's very easy to do.

You can get soft molds at your local stores (bed bath & beyond, or at linens and things). I've seen decent ones WITH perfectly straight walls, just like what you'll get out of a ring mold. 8 compartments for 24.00....they could be the cusinart line cause I believe they were red in color.

SPECIFICLY what size and shape cheesecake do you want and is your shape needs set in stone?

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How do you get your cheesecake batters to layer, instead of combining? I've swirled two flavors together but never layered them. I'd love to do this for one of my customers.

Bake the layers in separate pans.

There's a recipe in Death by Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers for a double layer chocolate pumpkin cheesecake. The chocolate layer is baked in a springform pan with the crust and the pumpkin layer is baked in a regular cake pan with buttered parchment paper. You just invert the cake pan over the springform pan. I think about trying different flavor combinations, but never seem to get around to it.

Here's a question though: in almost every cheesecake recipe I've read, it says to be careful not to overbeat the mixture. The recipe above though calls for beating the mixture for several minutes on high speed, seemingly in direct contradiction to the others. How come beating the hell out of the batter works here but is a danger in other recipes? It's been bugging me for a while, I feel like I must be missing something really obvious.

ediot: here's a link to the recipe chocolate pumpkin cheesecake

and an excerpt of the beating instructions:

Beat on low for l minute and on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium for 2 more minutes and on high for 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add 3 eggs one at a time, beating on high for 20 seconds and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add l tsp vanilla extract and beat on medium for l5 seconds, then beat for 2 more minutes on high.


Edited by gknl (log)

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gknl, if you check the thread on cookbooks started by chefette, this is a problem we've all encountered. when people who shouldn't be writing cookbooks come up with instructions.

you don't want to overbeat your cream cheese because it can "break" and become grainy. if it is controlled, some people can beat on high, but i wouldn't advise it. it is better to take it slow and steady for less time. usually a few lumps won't kill your cheesecake (especially if it is a "white" flavor, the lumps mix in and you don't notice them...see sinclair's response early on in this thread).

if you've made cheesecake before and been successful, i would recommend using whatever technique you're accustomed to. no need to follow the instructions when you already know what you're doing. especially when they lead you astray!

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I have a different cheesecake question which I am sure one of you can easily answer: I made a large batch today (eight 10" cheesecakes) and I had a problem I have never had before: I had spots on top of the cakes after baking. They were barely golden by the time they were done, so the spots showed up only in the end, just as they were starting to brown.

When examining what I may have done differently this time, these are the possibilities that may have contributed...

1) Usually I don't make such a large batch... did I just not get it smooth enough? (I, too, like to beat the cheese and sugar til completely smooth before adding anything else... but maybe because the batch was so big, there were clumps on the bottom that didn't get scraped)

2) I am in a new kitchen, with a more powerful oven than I am used to. The blower (it's convection) really blasts, so I at least turned it to LOW. Should I not even use the blower? But then they will take even longer...and I must share this oven with the kitchen staff.

3) I don't like beating the batter for ever, but I think I did for plenty long enough. Maybe it should have been even longer though, because of the large amount. I only beat on low speed, because I don't want to put so much air into the batter.

What could be causing the spots? Of course, it is only noticable when the cake is whole, and the customers won't care less, after it's been cut and they just have a slice. Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Or is there an easy solution?

Thanks in advance for help, and thanks Sinclair for all your helpful tips!


I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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It's hard to say what it was with-out seeing the spots myself.

(my bets on this) You had small lumps of cream cheese that weren't smooth and they rose to the top. I can't imagine any other possibility. The bigger the batch the harder it is to get it perfectly smooth. Also the mixers I use at work don't hit the bottom of the bowl cleanly.....so I have to prop up the bowl using a towel under each arm where the bowl sits in order for it to mix anything throughly.

Other posiblities, but these would have been dark spots:

(this happened to me yesterday) The oven was not clean, add a fan and it blows any burnt spilled ashes or crumbs on top of your cake-

crumbs from you crust can rise to the surface-

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Looking for some advice on a Dulce de Leche cheesecake. I'd bake off an experimental version, but I won't have time on this one so I'm hoping someone can verify my thought process:

1. Either basic graham cracker crust or chocolate wafer crust (leaning toward graham cracker)

2. I'll make the real dulce de leche posted elsewhere on eG (not the condensed milk kind)

3. Spread a layer of dulce on top of the crust

4. Mix some dulce into a basic batter...not too much, but to give a caramel undertone, because

5. Swirl some dulce into the batter

6. When finished, I plan to spread the caramel on the sides of the cheesecake and press in toasted cashew pieces

7. Probably caramelized sugar decorations inserted into the end of each slice

Ok, so questions:

1. Will the bottom caramel layer burn? Or will baking it somehow prevent it from setting up and have the cake just slide off the crust?

2. Am I better off not trying the caramel batter? Never did one before; couldn't find a recipe, though it seems like it should work. I'm figuring on mixing the cream that would have gone into the batter into warm caramel and subbing that instead of just the cream.

3. Do you think it's too over the top? I've had dulce ice cream that's caramel swirls in a caramel ice cream, so that was kind of where I was headed.

Thanks!

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i think making the caramel batter is the way to go. my gut feeling is that if you spread the caramel on the crust, it will either ooze through or make a strangely cooked layer of cheesecake on the bottom...same thing with spreading it on the side of the cake. it will probably slide right off. you're better off just sticking the nuts on the side directly on the cheesecake.

i don't think it is over the top if you just add a little into the batter and then swirl some in (or you could make a really richly flavored batter with half your batter and swirl it with the other half of plain batter (more likely to cook/set properly), then you could just serve the cheesecake with a whipped cream flavored with the dulce (or just a dulce sauce).

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I made minature pumpkin cheesecakes for the pastry club bake sale last week. I followed the recipe from the star desserts book. She calls for "fresh" cream cheese (meaning no preservatives) and mascarpone. They had a fantastic texture. The recipe also calls for a ginger snap crust (make ginger snaps-grind-mix with melted butter). I made them in 2.5 (diameter) x 2 (height) steel cake rings. I baked the crusts for about ten minutes and then the cakes. While the cakes were in the oven I baked them with a pan of water in their too (she said in the book that this helps prevent them from cracking). I did not grease the rings and the cakes unmolded pretty well I think-(though it couldn't have been a little cleaner. Most of them sunk down a little in the middle. I assume this is because there were air bubbles in my cheese mix (?). I sold out in 5 minutes--so that was cool.

Here's a pic:

cheesecake.jpg


Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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Kevin-I ditto alot of what Alana wrote. Frosting the cake with it-it will just slide off from the moisture in the cooler and look really bad. Just swirling in something to a cheesecake batter doesn't always work, the cake will often sink in or crack along the swirl. It's better if you take some of your batter and make that flavored, then swirl.

1. carmel on the crust-it won't burn. It won't make the cake slide off crust. BUT it could make your crust soft or it could give you a not pleasant ooz as you slice into the cake. To have a bottom layer succeed like you describe-it needs to be pretty thick/dense, otherwise it won't be noticed.

2. I like the contrast of a plain batter to the dulce batter so your mouth doesn't become complacent to the dulce taste....just personal choice.

3. Too over the top-NA-the ice cream is and it sells well.

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Thanks, Wendy, for the "spots" answer. I think they were as you said, just bits of pure cream cheese from the bottom of the bowl that did not get scraped up well enough before adding the eggs. I used to "towel" my old mixer, too; I'm in a new work place, and still getting the hang of things... so I guess I need to do the same here.

Thank you again, I appreciate your experience.


I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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mjc,

beautiful cheesecakes. sometimes, i feel that the center of the cheesecake sinks after cooling because it has been a little bit overbaked. i'm basing this on a recipe that i've used that is for a rich and creamy cheesecake. i bake it almost like a creme brulee (it can still jiggle very slightly in the middle, but the edges should be set). when it cools, it cools evenly and sinks evenly leaving a level top. that could be why yours sank, but who knows, maybe they just cooked faster on the edges. i tend to bake my cheesecakes (when not using a water bath) in a very low temp oven. the reason i say this is because the tops of your cheesecakes look a little more cooked than the sides. i know they were in contact with the ring molds, but still a little more baked looking than i do mine.

to be honest, i don't know if you needed to bake the crust separately from the cheesecakes...as the dough was already baked. i'm just thinking of time saving, unecessary steps.

otherwise, they looked great indeed!

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alanamoana,

thanks for the ideas. That makes sense to me, that maybe they were cooked a little too long. I tried to cook these like a creme brulee, the edges were set and it was still jiggly in the middle, but only the very middle.

Should the cakes be more uniform in color on the sides and on the top?

This weekend I went to a local bakery/restaurant for a day to learn about natural bread starters. While I was there I saw them making creme brulee and they covered the dishes with a sheet pan, so that the tops would not brown at all. Would this be a good technique for the cheese cakes too?


Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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I honestly think the sinking and browning do or don't happen from one oven to the next.... and every recipe seems to handle just a little differently.

I can think of places where I've baked cheesecakes and the tops never colored and the current place I'm at some cheesecake batters do and some don't. It depends upon which shelf in the oven and where the hot spots are, etc...Convection vs. standard oven...

Sinking generally happens when they are over baked a bit, but I bet it becomes more pronouced in some cheesecake batters.

MJC you do nice work.......I can't help but wonder if this is going to turn into more then just a hobby/club thing?

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Freeze to release works really well with a flexipan. I found it was the only way to get them out without ruining them. I would fill the cavity with the batter,then sprinkle the crust mixture carefully on top, smooth it out, and bake till done in a low oven. Cool, freeze and pop out.

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