Cheesecake has always been one of my guilty pleasures. But I try to keep the guilty feelings to a minimum. After all, how could anyone find it possible to resist its smooth creamy melt in your mouth filling on a crunchy, cookie-sweet crust, not to mention all of the flavor options and toppings?! I’d been craving cheesecake for a while, and this past weekend I finally gave in. I tried to resist, but after coming across an unopened bottle of Baileys Irish Cream in the cupboard, I just couldn’t hold myself back any longer…and so this decadent beauty was born. Cheesecake has always been classified as one of the more elegant dessert options at restaurants and delis, yet it is surprisingly easy to make for yourself at home. Many bakers, including myself, have struggled with the challenge of getting it to just the right consistency and avoiding a huge nasty crack across the top. But with some research and practice, I finally discovered the secret! It’s a combination of patience, technique, and knowing what a cheesecake should actually look like when it’s done baking. Below is my recipe for a luscious twist on this old classic custard.
- 18 Oreo cookies
- 4 Tablespoons of butter (melted)
- 2 ¼ Pounds of cream cheese
- 1 2/3 Cups of sugar
- 1 Cup of Baileys Irish Cream
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 Eggs
Preparing the crust
Preheat your oven to 350⁰F. Place whole cookies in a large ziplock bag and crush them until you get tiny crumbs. (I like to hammer them to bits with my cast iron skillet but many people prefer a rolling pin.)
Mix together melted butter and crushed cookies then press the mixture along the bottom and sides of a greased 10-inch springfoam pan. Bake for 7 minutes.
Preparing the filling
***Make sure ALL ingredients are at room temperature before beginning (this helps to prevent lumps and cracks in your cheesecake).
In a large bowl beat cream cheese until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar. Next, gently mix in Baileys and vanilla while being careful not to incorporate too many air bubbles.
Finally, add eggs one at a time and mix just until blended. Pour over your prebaked crust.
Fill a medium sized pan with water and place it on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat your oven to 350⁰F. (The steam from the water will help prevent your cheesecake from cracking and keep it moist so that it’ll have a nice golden color and creamy texture.) Once your oven is preheated, put your cheesecake in there and bake it for 1 hour.
Turn the oven off and let your cheesecake rest inside. (It should be a very pale golden color and still be quite wobbly.)
After about an hour, remove your cheesecake from the oven, and run a sharp knife between the cheesecake and the wall of your pan. (As your cheesecake cools it’ll begin to shrink which will cause cracking…not being stuck to the side of the pan will prevent that).
Return your cheesecake to the oven to cool completely before transferring it to the fridge (cheesecakes don’t respond well to sudden temperature changes so letting it cool gradually is your best bet in preventing cracks). Let your cheesecake set in the fridge for at least 12 hours and garnish immediately before serving.