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Best cheesecake cookbooks?

I like cheesecake, okay no I love it. Making it, eating it, looking at the pictures.

I have lots and lots of cookie, dessert, and baking cookbooks - but cheesecake cookbooks? Not so many.

Can the cheesecake aficionados share their fave cheesecake cookbooks? TIA!

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  1. Cheesecake success is more about understanding proper technique and a good base recipe rather then a devoted cookbook.

    I like Alton Browns recipe, and the show he devoted to the topic. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006

      My husband brought home a cheesecake cookbook because it had a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake recipe in it. We've made many, many, many of the recipes with tremendous success. I've been asked by two restaurants to make cheesecake for them (politely declined as I'd rather bake for fun and not for a job!). I highly recommend Mary Crownover's Cheesecake Extraordinaire. No waterbaths; no complicated recipes.

      There are a couple things I'm not totally thrilled with so I make modifications to her recipes. Typically, I make it to the letter the first time and modify later. I usually omit any alcohol used since it really doesn't bake off. I always prebake my crusts for added texture and flavor while she recommends refrigeration for crisper crusts.

    2. If you're interested in cheesecake bars, I recommend getting a Baker's Edge pan, which really simplifies the process:
      http://bakersedge.com/

      Here's a recipe I adapted to work in the pan:
      Cherry or Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

      Crust:
      2/3 cup all purpose flour
      2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
      1/3 cup sugar
      1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
      pinch salt

      Preheat oven to 350°F.

      Stir together flour, coconut, sugar and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle
      butter over and mix until crumbs stick together; press firmly onto
      bottom of pan.

      Bake crust until golden brown, 20- 25 minutes.

      Cheesecake:
      16 ounces (2 sticks) cream cheese, softened
      2 large eggs at room temperature
      3/4 cup sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      Zest of one lemon, minced fine
      Pinch nutmeg
      ¼ tsp salt
      1 to 1 ½ cups tart cherry, blueberry, or other fruit preserves

      In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, salt,
      lemon and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Evenly spread preserves over
      baked crust (it's ok if crust is warm) and pour cream-cheese mixture over. Bake at 350°F in middle of oven until slightly puffed, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely
      in pan, then chill well and cut into bars. Bar cookies keep, covered and
      chilled, 3 days.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TerriL

        I've got this one in the oven right now and its smelling so good! Can't wait to try

      2. Find an old Maida Heatter cookbook. She has everything from the Craig Claiborne old standby ( which is my personal favorite) to multilayer extravaganzas..

        2 Replies
        1. re: carfreeinla

          Second the Madia Heatter. The claiborne cheesecake is the best ever, and besides that, that book is just so darn useful. However, it is not full of pictures, but the recipes and information are of such a high caliber it really doesn't matter.

          1. re: charlottecooks

            Thanks all. Since I have just about all the Maida Heatter books -- the drawings were done by her late daughter, and I always did like them -- I'll have to look for the Claiborne cheesecake. Any idea which book it is in?--got it, her book of Great Desserts.

            I love bars, TerriL, thanks. You're right, Kelli. I tend to overbake my cheesecakes, but they are usually a hit nonetheless.

            It's nice to know that there aren't a plethora of books out there that I've missed -- since I've just about run out space.

        2. Hi Dolores,

          I too LOVE cheesecake and make a lot of them (and a lot of varieties)! This is going to sound silly, but my favorite book is the Kraft Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cheesecake cookbook! Each recipe has the recipe on one page and a full color photo on the opposite page (I like pictures!). Most are baked, but it has some that are not baked (I personally, don't care for those). It has 45 varieties. My favorites out of it are German Chocolate Cheesecake, Brownie Cheesecake, and Caramel Apple Cheesecake. YUM!!

          According to the price sticker still on it, mine cost only $4.77 at Lechmere (which doesn't exist anymore), so you can tell how old it is!! :-) But it is still available and is listed on Amazon for about $22. Also, mine is spiral bound. Now (as listed on Amazon) it is hard cover. If you can find the spiral bound (perhaps used?), I think you'd like it better because you can keep it open easily, fold one side under, etc.

          I think the main trick to good cheesecake is to not over bake it (I prefer a creamy cheesecake). I never bother to use a water bath unless the recipe specifically calls for one (the recipes in this cookbook do not call for one) and they come out perfect and creamy every time. And a simple way to keep it from cracking is, again, don't over bake and to run a knife around the edge after it's cooled for a few minutes.

          Have fun!!!

          1. Bought "The Joy of Cheesecake" many years ago (when I was young and charming?). Haven't used it much because it spends much of its content talking about non-standard cakes whose ingredients just don't excite me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DonShirer

              I know you asked for books but I like the Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake so much that I have to recommend it to another cheesecake lover. It is on the Epicurious site [ http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...] was originally published in 1990, reprinted again in 2003 and at one time, was their most requested recipe. For all I know maybe it still is.

            2. I don't have a cookbook to suggest, but I'd sure like to find a recipe for cheesecake that DOESN'T involve crumbled up graham crackers. I used to have a recipe for a crustless cheesecake but I can't find it anymore.

              Any suggestions? I used to think this was called New York style, but the recipes I find for that now all have a graham cracker crust. Or crumbled up animal crackers or vanilla wafers or some such nonsense. What I'm looking for was truly crustless.

              Sojourner

              5 Replies
              1. re: ZenSojourner

                This link may help -
                http://www.cookingdebauchery.com/cook...

                I would take a good cheesecake recipe and just not make the crust. You could use any number of toppings - cream - fruit etc.

                1. re: Mistral

                  ooohh, so close. She's right, finding a crustless recipe is like finding hen's teeth. It cracks me up that after she goes to all the trouble of expressing how little she likes the contrast between grainy overlysweet "graham cracker crusts" and the smooth, creamy richness that is a good cheesecake, there are still people who post comments about how they "improved" her recipe by slapping on a graham cracker crust, LOL!

                  The only problem is the addition of unobtanium, or "kefir cheese".

                  I'm also not sure I like the idea of lining the spring pan with tin foil - never heard of that. It would appear that her idea of dusting the pan with sugar to keep it from sticking doesn't work very well, or why use the foil?

                  I guess I haven't tried to just leave the crust off a "standard" recipe because of the whole sticking-to-the-pan problem. It seems to me the only real reason to adulterate the creamy goodness of cheesecake is because it's so hard to keep the cheesecake from sticking without it. Then people get used to having that crust so they think it's not "good cheesecake" without the crust. Anyway, does anyone have anti-stick suggestions?

                  Thanks.

                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                    The foil is usually placed on the outside of a springform pan to prevent water from seeping inside during the water bath.

                    I haven't looked at this recipe though. My very favorite cheesecake recipe is Dorie's: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                    She even discusses leaving this one crustless for passover.

                    1. re: Becca Porter

                      I looked more closely at the instructions for that first recipe above and it does look like they're not actually lining the inside of the pan with foil. I was fooled by the wording which said "Removed the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Line it with a large piece of tin foil, folding the edges under so that they do not interfere." But I think they didn't mean to actually line it but to put the bottom back on ON TOP of the foil.

                      I'd rather just use these to simulate a water bath:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-Large-Ba...

                      Maybe I can just use the original sour creme instead of the kefir cheese in that recipe. But I don't think NY Style cheese cake uses sour creme. So maybe I need to try what you suggest and pick a NY style recipe with crust and just leave off the (*shudder*) crust.

                      I'm a-thinkin' on it.

                    2. re: ZenSojourner

                      just checked my cheesecake book because I thought I remembered a couple that were crustless. There are two options that are in there....(I love the crust, so can't vouch for how these turn out).

                      One says to line the bottom of the springform with wax paper (or I suppose parchment would be fine) and lightly grease the sides.

                      The other recipe says to grease the bottom of the springform pan and then dust with finely crushed graham crackers, removing all excess. yes, I know this is technically not what you want, but used as a dust it would not be a crust per se, but just a substitute for greasing and flouring via normal methods. You could probably even use flour just like you were doing a regular cake.

                      hope this helps!

                2. Side note: I read in RL Beranbaum's heavenly "Heavenly Cakes" that the way to prevent leaks with springforma is to put them inside suitably-sized silicon baking pans. Sounds quite brilliant and have been meaning to try it but haven't yet.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: buttertart

                    There are many who bake cheesecake without a water bath and it does not crack. I have never tried this - I use the foil wrapped pan in a bath.

                    From what I can gather they drop the temp to around 275F and have a slightly longer baking time;

                    1. re: Mistral

                      I have never not had a pan wrapped in foil leak myself.

                      1. re: Mistral

                        I have made a ton of cheesecakes and never use a water bath and don't have any problems with cracking. And they are baked at the usual 350 or so. I think the key is to not overbake them (I bake until JUST set - still moves slightly in the middle, but does not "slosh") AND after about 10 mins of cooling, I run a knife around the edge - long before it cools completely. They never crack.

                        1. re: Scirocco

                          Makes sense to me!