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Suvir Saran

Individual/Mini Cheesecakes

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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?

i don't think you need to cover them. just a low temperature should work. also, even if you think your oven is heating evenly, it probably isn't...i turn my sheet pans often (front to back) and move them from top shelf to bottom shelf halfway through. you can't be too careful!

i find that there's no difference in color on the sides or the top. it should be pretty uniform.

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KarenS   

covering a custard prevents a skin.

If you use foil, cover first with paper (aluminum plus steel can create a current-that is why,

if you cover steel pans of lasagne w/out first wrapping them with plastic wrap or covering

it with paper-you can "melt" the aluminum.

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KarenS   

rising sides and sinking cheesecakes can also mean that you are overmixing thecheese.

Bring the cheese to room temp and paddle on low speed with the sugar.

You don't want to incorporate too much air.

Alanamoana is right too about rotating front to back and top to bottom.

Steam will help too. Put a pan of water in the oven with the cakes.

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I need to find a production pan for mini cheesecakes and I want them round. I like straight sides and easy release so when I saw this one I thought I'd be able to find something at JBPrince, Bakedeco, Design & Realisation but no luck.

http://www.goldaskitchen.com/merchant.ihtm...id=10328&step=4

I've generally done this in the small springforms but now will need to get them to more of a petit four size. Would it just be better to use a fleximold and pop them out when they are chilled? They'll have a crust so I want to be able to keep them intact.

Thanks!

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We use a couple different methods for doing small cheesecakes. One is to bake them in flexipans like you mentioned. Freeze, pop them out, place on pate sucre bases and glaze.

The other way is using small ring molds. We put them in paper muffin cups, press graham cracker crust mix in the bottom, place the whole thing in a flexipan mold of the same diameter set on a sheet pan, fill ring molds with batter, add 1/4 inch of water to sheet pan and bake. Then we chill them, peel off the paper liner, torch the ring and they slide right out.

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JB Prince sells a range of rings in single serving sizes. Although I think some of the smaller ones we use were custom made (yeah, it helps being a huge hotel with an engineering staff that can manufacture just about anything we need).

For a cheaper alternative you can have a metal shop cut slices from aluminum or stainless steel piping. Some may not consider these "food-safe", but I can tell you they've been using rings made this way at Charlie Trotter's for years.

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So is the difference that you have to freeze to get out of the flexipans or can they pop out just chilled? Do you have a preference for either way? It sounds like a bit more work to put them in the muffin liners and then have to tear away and torch.

I plan to glaze them as you do once they are put together and pop them back into the fridge.

And on a size question... Are you making them like a two bite size or more like an individual dessert size?

Thanks for educating me!

Josette

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JSkilling -- They have what appear to be the same ones at King Arthur for about $27. Check out their latest catelogue or website.

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So is the difference that you have to freeze to get out of the flexipans or can they pop out just chilled?  Do you have a preference for either way?  It sounds like a bit more work to put them in the muffin liners and then have to tear away and torch. 

I plan to glaze them as you do once they are put together and pop them back into the fridge. 

And on a size question...  Are you making them like a two bite size or more like an individual dessert size?

Thanks for educating me!

Josette

There are two main differences between the flexi and ring mold versions: the small flexipans are meant for mini-muffins so the edges are slightly rounded and they don't have straight sides, and you can't bake them with a crust (which is why we place them onto cookies after they're glazed). Chilling just doesn't get them hard enough to unmold without damaging the shape. We use both the flexipans and ring versions as two-bite petit fours depending quantity - it takes a WHOLE lot less time to make 3000 of the flexi version. For smaller groups and VIPs we use rings since they do look much nicer with the perfectly straight sides and look more like tiny versions of traditional cheesecake. For individual desserts sold retail and for room service we use the ring mold method.

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Oh, I forgot one other detail about the preparing the cheesecakes in metal rings - we brush the inside of the rings with butter and dust with sugar to prevent sticking and ensure a clean release.

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Here's the link to the King Arthur Two-Bite Pan. Looks like the on-line catalogue shows the finished product, but not the pan, which also shows in the print catalogue. The cups appear to be straight-sided.

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melmck   

Surfas, Inc. has good prices on ring molds, $3.25 a piece for 3" X 1.75" molds. Much better price than JB Prince, unless you order tons of 'em.

I spray them with pan spray.After I bake them, I let them cool to almost room temp,and slide the rings off while they are still a touch warm. The sides are perfect!

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Surfas, Inc. has good prices on ring molds, $3.25 a piece for 3" X 1.75" molds. Much better price than JB Prince, unless you order tons of 'em.

I spray them with pan spray.After I bake them, I let them cool to almost room temp,and slide the rings off while they are still a touch warm. The sides are perfect!

Oh, that's it! I think that might just be the perfect size and with these I can make a crust in the bottom, pour in the batter and bake them. Do you know how many ounces each mold holds? I need to figure out yield on a recipe and make sure that this won't actually be too big a serving for my restaurant. Everything I do is nutrition controlled and I'm trying to keep desserts in a certain range.

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mark918   
Surfas, Inc. has good prices on ring molds, $3.25 a piece for 3" X 1.75" molds. Much better price than JB Prince, unless you order tons of 'em.

I spray them with pan spray.After I bake them, I let them cool to almost room temp,and slide the rings off while they are still a touch warm. The sides are perfect!

Oh, that's it! I think that might just be the perfect size and with these I can make a crust in the bottom, pour in the batter and bake them. Do you know how many ounces each mold holds? I need to figure out yield on a recipe and make sure that this won't actually be too big a serving for my restaurant. Everything I do is nutrition controlled and I'm trying to keep desserts in a certain range.

I think it would depend on how high you fill them, and how high your crust is. You can use geometry to calculate the volume, and then convert it to fluid ounces like this:

A 3 inch diameter circle has a radius of 1.5 inches. The area of a circle with a 1.5 inch radius is pi times the radius squared or 3.14159 * (1.5 * 1.5) or 7.069 square inches. If you fill the 1.75 inch cylinder to the top with a liquid, then the volume of the liquid will be 1.75 times 7.069 or 12.371 cubic inches. If you use a quarter inch crust, and fill to the top then the volume will be 1.5 times 7.069 or 10.603 cubic inches. If you use a quarter inch crust, and leave a half inch unfilled at the top, then you will have 7.069 cubic inches.

According to the google calculator, there are 0.5542113 fluid ounces in a cubic inch. So multiply your volume in cubic inches by this factor to calculate volume in fluid ounces. A filled 1.75 inch cylinder would be 12.371 times 0.5542113 or 6.855 fluid ounces. Filling 1.5 inches of the cylinder would result in 5.875 fluid ounces. Filling one inch of the cylinder would result in 3.917 fluid ounces.

Hope this helps :)

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You can also buy round cake rings from Parrish's Cake Decorating in Gardena, CA if that's closer for you (aka Magic Line pans). I bought several hundred 3x1" rings a few years back (aluminium) and the price worked out to less than $2/each.

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Mark918,

I'm a Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude FRENCH major and took maybe one potato math class in college (one potato, two potato) so who knew I'd need geometry to figure out cheesecake and algebra to get my sorbets to have the correct finished level of sugar!! And the scary thing is I just used your formula to figure out the finished volume of the next size down ring, 2.75 x 1.75 and understood it all. Scary....

Thanks so much for taking the time to figure that out for me. And the answer is... the 3" ring will yield too much for one dessert at 6.8 ounces but the 2.75" ring (w/ a 1/4" crust and filled to the top) will yield a 4.94 ounce dessert- more in line with what I'll need to serve. So I guess to figure out how much one recipe for an 8" x 2.5" cheesecake will yield in fluid ounces I can do the same thing? Then I'd know how many rings I can fill and work out the nutritional info in my software from there....

Based on a quick calculation it looks like I'd get 14 individual ring servings out of that pan, which is actually 2 more than I'd cut in slices and it will still look like a nice size dessert and present well as an individual, plated dessert. Now I'll need to figure out my labor on this and how much longer it will take me to do crusts 14 times vs 1. Pouring batter into the molds is certainly not the time factor in this.

Who has time to bake anything!! I'm crunching numbers.... I better do this again in the morning and double check my math.

Josette

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zilla369   

I'm sure this topic has been covered here somewhere, but for the life of me i can't find a thread on it. If anyone else does, please link to it.

Chef wants to change up the dessert menu at work. Currently one of the items is a white chocolate cheesecake (recipe and process inherited from before i came to work there) made in a sheet pan on top of a graham cracker crust. I've never liked this recipe or method as 1) the texture's just not right, 2) the cake is too shallow and often browns too much on top before the inside's done, but most of all 3)even though i have shown pantry how to cut and plate them about a hundred times (turn the pan over, torch the underside, gently place another cutting board on top and flip back over, cut with a clean hot knife) they are either too lazy to cut up a cake properly before srevice or too "busy" to do it right during service. I've also showed them how to cut a clean square into two little triangles and tilt one up on the other before garnishing. But i wish i had a dollar for every time i've walked past the pass when they're slammed and seen them mangling a crumb-covered square right out of the sheet pan with a frickin' cake server.

So... i told chef i wanted to get rid of the cheesecake, at least in its current incarnation. I told him what the problems were with the one we're serving now, and that even though i knew i could get a better cake in a springform pan, i still didn't trust pantry to cut and plate it correctly. However, he really, really prefers to keep some sort of cheesecake on the dessert menu, so he asked me to come up with individual cheesecakes for service. He doesn't care what flavors or recipe i use - but during this slow season he's also not likely to "spring" for individual serving size springform pans (which i'd really prefer) or silicone molds. Also, i'm not leaning towards using a cutter to cut rounds out of the sheet-pan cheesecake because it creates a lot of waste and i just want to get away from that sheet-pan method altogether.

So how do i get an individual cheesecake with the basic equipment i already have? I have muffin tins and ramekins of various sizes. Water bath or not? Paper slings underneath? What methods have worked for other people?

Thanks in advance for your help. I need to get this off the ground this week. And i'm sick of white chocolate (and we already have a dark chocolate torte on the menu), so any ideas in that direction are welcome - although the big thing i'm asking for your help with here is technique. Thanks!

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I82Much   

I don't know if this is appropriate in a restaurant environment, but I have made them in muffin tins - actually I made them in mini muffin tins with petit fours-sized liners, but I imagine you'd want something a bit more substantial for a dessert. If you spray the liner with some sort of nonstick spray or grease it or what have you, you can take it off after baking and the graham cracker crust should stay in one piece.

Shrug.

Here are the pictures - (sorry for the poor quality, I'm a better cook than photographer)

gallery_18253_719_45289.jpg

gallery_18253_719_127993.jpg

gallery_18253_719_46324.jpg

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I think unmolding from the muffin tins will make your life (or someone's life) miserable after the first week. You could bake them in ramekins (but then, why not just do a pot de creme or some other type of pudding or custard). You might just have to bite the bullet and get some rings - they're inexpensive, and they will make your life a little less stressful when it comes to cheesecake. I did buy some individual 3" removeable bottom pans, but they are a pain and I don't use them.

The rings I use are 3" round and 1" high, I bought them from Parrish's years ago and they were cheap. I make full sheets of biscuit (which keep, well wrapped, for about a week so I always start the week making it - I can get about 40-42 from a full sheet). Or you could use a graham crumb crust (I use these for individual key lime "pies" and you need to have a small 3" or smaller pan to tamp the crumbs down, you need a heaping 1/4 cup of crumbs for these). I spray the rings well, use them to cut out circles from the biscuit and then fill the rings with whatever kind of cheesecake I'm making. Bake at 300 for however long you need (25-35 again depending) and let cool. You can either wait and time it right to slide the rings off (usually a minimum of about 45 mins or so) or you can stick 'em in the walk in and torch the rings to unmold. For service, you just have to put 'em on a plate and garnish and go. The downside to this method is dealing with the crust - it's a whole extra step if you use biscuit, and a little more time consuming with the crumbs.

The white choc chzcake I use has a layer of chopped toffee in the middle; the most popular is a tie between caramel chzcake and the plain Oreo one from the oreo cookie site - (and I thought we were all over the cookies and cream craze...) a good source of inspiration is the book Cheesecake Extraordinare by Mary Crownover.

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JFLinLA   
I don't know if this is appropriate in a restaurant environment, but I have made them in muffin tins - actually I made them in mini muffin tins with petit fours-sized liners, but I imagine you'd want something a bit more substantial for a dessert.  If you spray the liner with some sort of nonstick spray or grease it or what have you, you can take it off after baking and the graham cracker crust should stay in one piece.

I82Much -- I'm also a home baker and still experimenting with ways to make individual, bite-sized cheesecakes. For my purposes, the square pan method cut into cubes has worked but I'm still somewhat new at it. Would you please share your recipes & methodologies here?

Thanks.

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Pam R   

I often spray whatever I'm baking the cheesecake in, then line it with homemade parchment collars. Graham crust won't stick to the bottom - and the parchment strips help the cheese part release - so I'd try the ramekins this way.

I also prefer to bake them in a bain marie - the moisture helps.

But if your cheesecake is browning too quickly, loosely tent some foil over it (making sure the foil doesn't touch the cake or it will stick).

Some great cheesecake flavours: key lime, mango, raspberry... hmm I guess I like cheesecake with some fruit. :smile:

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