Monday, March 18, 2019

Sweetie's Instant Pot Cheesecake

Sweetie has loved cheesecake ever since I have known him and likely before that. He never asks me to make one for him but I often do for his birthday. One year in Berkeley we had a surprise birthday desserts party for him that included a green cheesecake with Irish whiskey in it. Having your birthday on St. Patrick's Day gets you that kind of strange thing.

This year we were in LA visiting our daughter. Kate has an Instapot so I thought that it would be fun to try making a cheesecake in the pot. I'd been told that everyone who tried that method was quite taken with the results. Ours was amazing! Although I couldn't eat any, I was told that it was the best cheesecake ever...creamy, just sweet enough, the perfect texture with a great crust.

There are only four things, plus one technique that make this different from any other cheesecake. First, you need an Instapot or Instant Pot or similar appliances that have a pressure cooking feature. Second, you need a 7" in diameter spring form pan. They are easily available on Amazon. Third, you need a trivet or rack that fits in the bottom of the pot. Some pots come with that, but we needed to buy one. We found a silicone trivet at Target that will work well for other things, too. Four - You need an electric hand mixer for making the batter. This works much better than a stand mixer to avoid adding extra air. Extra air gives you a souffle instead of a cheesecake.

The technique that is different is that you need to be sure to beat in as little air as possible during creation of the batter...well, and steaming in the Instapot is different than baking.

The recipe itself is the usual one of a graham cracker crust with a cream cheese based filling, enriched with eggs. I also added some Meyer lemon zest for zing and we decorated it with blueberries and some sliced strawberries that I had marinated with a little bit of sugar and lemon juice due to the fact that it's not yet strawberry season.

This is a quick and easy recipe, but it requires a bit of planning ahead. DO let the ingredients sit out to come to room temperature...essential if you want that smooth, creamy filling that we love. DO freeze the graham cracker crust for at least 20 minutes. That way you have a stable crust to hold the filling. DO chill at least four hours before serving after cooking, or overnight. We did overnight, just to be sure.

Spring is coming with all the delicious berries...and this is the perfect dessert to serve with them!

Instant Pot Cheesecake
by Amy & Jacky - Pressure Cook

10 (120g) graham crackers, finely ground (I used a food processor)
3-4 tablespoons (42g - 56g) butter or margarine, melted
a pinch sea salt

Batter (7 inches x 3 inches)

16 oz. (454 g) cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons (16g) cornstarch
2 pinches sea salt
2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Crust: Melt the butter. Add the fine graham cracker crumbs and sea salt and mix to thoroughly combine. Before you do this, make sure that you have put out the cream cheese, eggs and sour cream to come to room temperature.

If desired, line the 7-inch x 3-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Add the crust mixture and firmly pack all over the bottom and part way up the sides. (See sides in the photos.) The back of a teaspoon works well for packing the mixture firmly. No butter is needed on the parchment or you can skip the parchment as I did. Put the pan in the freezer for at least 20 minutes while you make the cheesecake batter.

Batter: Use a hand mixer, not a stand keep the batter from having too much air.

In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch, salt and granulated sugar. Set aside.

Check to make sure that the cream cheese, eggs and sour cream are at room temperature. If they are not, wait until they are.

In a large mixing bowl place the cream cheese. Using low speed, briefly use the hand mixer to break up the cheese by beating it for 10 seconds.

Add in half the sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated using low speed, for about 20-30 seconds.

Scrape the bowl and beaters.

Add in the rest  of the sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated using low speed, for about 20-30 seconds.

Add the sour cream and vanilla to the mixture and and beat just until incorporated using low speed, for about 20-30 seconds.

Scrape the bowl and beaters.

Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating just until incorporated using low speed, about 20 seconds for each eggs. Scrape down bowl and beaters after each egg.

Use a silicone spatula to fold the mixture a few times to make sure everything is fully incorporated.

Remove prepared pan from the freezer and pour in the cheese batter. Spread top to even, using the silicone spatula.

Rap the pan sharply against the counter a few times. Air bubbles will rise to the surface. Pop the air bubbles with the tines of a fork or with a toothpick. Repeat until you are satisfied. Ensure the surface is clear of air bubbles or fork marks. It is almost impossible to remove all the air bubbles.

Make a foil sling for the springform pan by folding aluminum foil in a long strip about 3-4 inches wide.

Pour 1 cup (250ml) cold water in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

Place a steamer rack in the bottom of the pot. put in the foil sling with the ends to the top of the pot. Gently lower the springform pan down to the rack. Tuck the ends of the sling down so they are below the top edge of the pan.

Close the lid.

Pressure cook on High Pressure for 26 minutes, then Full Natural Release (takes roughly 7 minutes). Open the Pressure Cooker lid gradually. As much as possible try to avoid dripping the condensation from the lid onto the cheesecake.

Absorb any condensation on the surface by lightly tapping it with a soft paper towel (I found that the paper towel edge would wick up the moisture.)

Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack after using the sling to carefully lift the pan out of the Instant Pot.

After cooling 10-15 minutes, you can release the cake by carefully running a thin paring knife between the sidewall and the cheesecake (or parchment paper) and then opening the spring to release the sidewall. You can also chill the cake in the pan and do this same step once you are ready to serve the cake.

Chill cake for 4 hours or overnight.  Releasing the chilled cake from the springform bottom can be done by sitting the cake and pan bottom on a hot wet towel (damp towel microwaved for 30 seconds) for a few seconds until the butter melts slightly...cake will slide off the pan bottom.  Parchment, if used, can be carefully removed after cake is chilled. I didn't use parchment. I removed sides and bottom after chilling the cake overnight.

Place cake on serving plate and decorate or garnish as desired. I used sliced fresh strawberries and rinsed and dried fresh blueberries.

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