Ovation: Three Plus Tons Of Cheesecake!
A few years ago I got on a real “cheesecake kick”. For months I was baking cheesecakes one after another, trying every recipe I could find, hoping to discover one that I could elaborate upon to call my own. I found myself starting a collection of springform pans, special cake pans with sides that can be removed from the base using a latch on the outside, leaving ingredients on the counter so they would be at room temperature and obsessing about whether or not the racks in my oven were level.
I tried dozens of recipes and collected my favorites in a three-ring binder where I write notes and critiques so I would be able to tell them apart when I looked back at them. During my cheesecake frenzy I used pounds and pounds of cream cheese. Of course, I had no idea that it was possible to make a 6,900-pound cheesecake.
Last weekend, at the ninth annual Cream Cheese Festival (yes, there really is one!), in Lowville, New York, Philadelphia Cream Cheese broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest cheesecake. The cake was 90.25 inches in diameter and more than thirty inches deep and estimated to be 24, 533 servings.
The previous record was only 4,703 pounds.
Like smaller versions, the enormous cheesecake, unveiled by pastry chef and Food Network personality Duff Goldman, was filled with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and sugar, and the crust was made of graham cracker crumbs and butter. Approximately 10,000 people sampled cheesecake at the festival and the leftovers were donated to a local food pantry and Salvation Army Soup Kitchen.
I haven’t baked a cheesecake in quite some time. Eventually, my cheesecake audience dwindled and my springform pans worked their way to the back of the cabinet. But, with the arrival of backyard hens and the abundance of fresh eggs that they provide, a “quiche kick” was not far behind.
Do you ever go on a baking spree? Here’s my favorite cheesecake recipe if you’d like to give it a try.
JUNIOR MINT CHEESECAKE
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs or chocolate cookie crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 6 ounces Junior Mints candies, frozen
- 3 packages (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare crust by combining crumbs, sugar and melted butter and pressing into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. With electric hand-held mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Ad eegs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; stir in vanilla. Pour cheesecake batter into prepared crust. Chop frozen Junior Mints and sprinkle onto the cheesecake batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in a 350° oven or until just set. Cool on wire rack, then chill several hours or overnight. Makes about 8 servings.
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