Baking a Pumpkin Cheesecake in a bad oven
I love to cook but Im afraid Im not much of a baker. Unfortunately I shot my mouth off last week and told my friends that I will be [trying to bake] a pumpkin cheescake with a maple bourbon glaze for our annual Thanksgiving get-together.
I live in China and I do not have a proper oven. It is large enough for a 9 or 10 inch springform but it is not that tall. It is one of those stand-alone electric ovens one can buy in any appliance store for around $75. It does not keep a very good constant temperature and it can be drafty by the oven door (and hot in the back).
Any tips on trying to make this cheescake in that oven? Lower temperature- longer time? Rotating the cake a few times? I was thinking of adding a few sheets of tin foil over the cake to dissipate the heat from the (close) heating elements.
Tips are appreciated as is a great pumpkin-cheescake recipe! I have not settled on any particular recipe yet.
I would use a waterbath but do it on a low temperature overnight, along these lines:
The recipe doesn't use a waterbath (it really is beautiful and creamy w/out one at a low temperature) but you want to retain the temperature in the oven so the waterbath would help there. The other option would be to use a terracotta pot, some kind of pizza stone idea that would help retain the temperature in the oven, even if it does get colder. I don't know if you can get them where you are but a home store carries unglazed tiles that work great. The one thing you want to be careful of is that the pot or whatever you use doesn't have lead.
The Trick to making Great Cheesecake is to bake it in a Water Bath. Say you have a 9 x 3 inch round pan [not Spring form, they leak] get a 13 x 3 inch round pan for the Bath. Place the Lager pan in the oven, place the smaller pan with the cheesecake batter and crust inside the larger one, then fill the larger pan with about an inch and a half of boiling water. The Water will help regulate the amount of heat which goes into the Cheesecake and allow it to cook more evenly.
To See the Process look Here
I am in Egypt and have just had similar problems baking a cheesecake. My oven doesn't seem to have a thermostat so the temperature just keeps going up. The cheesecake came out OK, but I have to say, not as good as it is when I make it at home. Part of this was due, I think, to the fact that the cream cheese here is denser than that in the US. The other part is that I had to keep opening the door to regulate the temperature -- and the flame int the oven even went out once because I had turned it down to low. So it wasn't perfect, but it wasn't bad. I think that you can feel free to rotate the cake, and I would definitely try a lower temperature. If there is a draft, perhaps you could form a little cover using aluminum foil, which might hold the temperature in. I wouldn't put foil over the cake though. Could you put some sort of shield between the cake and heating element? Something like the bottom of a heavy disposable roaster cut to size? You don't want the cake to brown or char from the heating element. Does the oven retain heat? I leave the cheesecake in the oven after I turn it off.
If you go to Gourmet.com, you can search pumpkin bourbon cheesecake. It's a great recipe and apparently one of their most requested ever.
Thanks for the tips. I can find all of the right ingredients locally (Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Libbys packed pumpkin etc.) so I am not too worried about that aspect. I will definitely look up the Gourmet recipe.
The oven does retain heat it is just uneven....it gets very hot, then cools down, then reheats etc. And the heating elements may sear/brown the top so I will try and build some kind of tent in between the top of the cake and the elements (rather than cover the cake with foil as I was thinking of doing).