Saturday, June 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake

This cheesecake was a delicious and delightful surprise. It is creamy, smooth, with a hint of almond. And it's made in a slow cooker; no baking involved! 

It was Ole Sweetie-Pi's birthday this past week and typically I make the Hershey's Chocolate Cake with 7-minute frosting (his birthday cake of choice since he was a boy), but it has been rainy, hot and humid here all week, and the frosting just doesn't work well for me under these conditions. So, Plan B went into effect.  We really enjoy cheesecake, but my favorite recipe makes enough to feed a small nation, much too much for just the two of us.  And then I found this recipe on Food and Wine, made in the slow cooker.  At first I pooh-poohed the idea, thinking that it would never work.  But then....I make my favorite cheesecake in a bain-marie (water bath), plus this recipe had the added bonus of making a much smaller cheesecake.

I don't have the 6-inch by 3-inch springform pan called for in the recipe, but I do have four 4 1/2-inch by 1 1/2 inch pans.  I used three pans with just a dab of batter remaining that I could easily have used now knowing that the batter will not rise and spill over the top of the pans. 

My slow cooker is oval shaped and could only hold two pans at a time, but I refrigerated the third pan and cooked it after the first two were done; had I been thinking, I could have used my round slow cooker for the third pan and they all could have been done at the same time.  Or maybe I'll just buy a 6-inch pan, grins.

Recipe takes some time to put together but it's mostly slow cooker and then cooling times.  Actual preparation time is perhaps 20 or 30 minutes, but then I made my own graham cracker crumbs.  I hope you try this.  It is creamy good and the rewards exceed the effort; my kind of recipe.  I served it with my favorite Blueberry Sauce.  


3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt (equivalent to about 1/16 of a teaspoon)

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure almond extract **
1 cup sour cream

In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and a pinch of salt. Press the crumbs over the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 6-inch round x 3-inch deep springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the flour,  2/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Beat at medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs and the almond extract. Beat at medium speed until blended. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Pour the batter into the springform pan.

Fill a 6- to 7-quart round or oval slow cooker with 1/2 inch of water and position a rack (I used an openwork cast-iron trivet)  in the bottom. Set the cheesecake on the rack. Cover the slow cooker with a triple layer of paper towels  (to capture the steam and prevent it from dripping on the batter) and place the lid. Turn the cooker to high and cook for 2 hours without peeking. Turn off the heat and let stand until the slow cooker has cooled, 1 hour.

Remove the lid and the paper towels and transfer the cheesecake to a rack to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
Heat a sharp, thin-bladed knife under hot water; dry the knife. Carefully run the knife around the edge of the cheesecake. Release the spring and lift the cheesecake out of the mold. Cut into wedges and serve
**For my tastes, the almond flavoring was too strong; I would either reduce it to 1/2 teaspoon, or replace it with either vanilla or lemon.