When faced with an unconventional way of making a familiar classic, do you jump with excitement or do you narrow your eyes with suspicion? I do a bit of both with added hesitation that can lasts for months. I made plenty of cheesecake in my baking days. In fact, it was the treat that started it all when I decided to take up baking in the last decade. The quest of tall creamy baked cheesecake with an unmarred top (no cracks!) was an elusive pursuit. I followed every trick in the book yet results were inconsistent at best.
Since I bought my slow cooker, it occupies an esteemed place in my kitchen. Sure it has no permanent home on the kitchen counter but I bring it upstairs from the basement so often that the trip is considered part of my weekly exercises. Obviously it excels in keeping my family well-fed with soups and stews. The occasional barbecue pulled pork and beans are most welcomed by my skating buddies. But dessert? Not exactly the first thing that comes to mind.
Slow cooker cheesecake beeped in my culinary radar last summer. Made in mason jar individual servings or a whole cake, the emphasis lies in the gentle steaming that slow cooker easily achieves. It makes a lot of sense. When I bake a cheesecake in the oven, I use a water bath to moderate the baking temperature and create a moist environment to prevent cracking. I was intrigued by these recipes but kept hesitating. Finally, it was America’s Test Kitchen that convinced me to take a leap of faith.
My pre-ordered copy of Slow Cooker Revolution volume 2 arrived way back in September last year. I am not one to judge a book by its cover but the enticing chocolate cheesecake cover photo (recipe and tutorial are available online) tells me much about the cookbook: slow cooker is far more versatile than you think! The meticulous direction gave me much confidence to tackle the recipe. To turn my slow cooker into a steamer, I made foil ring and poured exactly two cups of water into the crock. I made my springform pan watertight with extra layers of foil. But the most important piece of advice? Take the temperature of the cheesecake. Mine reached the requisite 150F after 2:15 of cooking.
A picture is worth a thousand words. You can see for yourself the silky creamy texture of the cheesecake. The gentle heat evenly set the custard even though the batter filled the tall cake pan to the brim. Instead of Oreo crust, I made a chocolate wafer crumb crust topped with the thinnest layer of dark chocolate. The cheesecake, though delicate, unmoulded easily. “Recipes that work” is indeed the most fitting slogan.
Is there any reason for me to go back to the traditional oven baking technique? Even with the spectacular result of the slow cooker version, I have to say yes. I can only fit a 6-inch cake pan in my slow cooker! If I want to make a bigger cheesecake to feed a crowd, an oven is still the way to go. But for more intimate dessert devouring occasions (oh that sounds wrong), my trusty slow cooker is now my new best friend.
Previously on cheesecakes:
- Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pepitas
- Apricot Cheesecake Bar
- No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake
- Cherry Cheesecake In A Jar
- Banana Cheesecake
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
- Souffle Cheesecake
- Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Sorbet Pomme Tatin
- Tourteau De Chevre
- Goat Cheese Onion Tart