Rich, creamy, and smooth, cheesecake is a decadent dessert few can turn down. It's popular worldwide and can take on many varieties to incorporate local culinary traditions. Whether it's July 30 -- National Cheesecake Day -- or any day of the year, you can create and serve the perfect cheesecake with these tips.
Spring-form pan: The best option for a flawless cheesecake, a spring-form pan features removable sides and bottom, perfect for cooking delicate confections. When cooking your cheesecake in a water bath, be sure to wrap your pan in aluminum foil to prevent any water from seeping into the base of your cake.
Hand mixer: Electric mixers and whisks both result in overbeating, which puts too much air in the batter. Use a hand mixer to gently fold ingredients together to the perfect consistency.
Mixing bowl: No kitchen is complete without a set of high-quality mixing bowls. Opt for a ceramic or stainless steel variety that can withstand the beating required to mix cream and curded cheese.
Parchment rounds: Don't own a spring-form pan? Line a regular cake pan with greased parchment paper. Allow 1-inch of paper to hang over the edges of the pan. Use the paper to carefully lift the cheesecake out of the pan after it is baked.
No-fuss, no-bake: Short on time? Opt for a quick, eggless no-bake recipe. No-bake cheesecakes feature a lighter, more pudding-like texture and a longer shelf-life.
Sweet or savory: Cheesecake isn't just for dessert. Use pungent cheeses, and herbs or seafood in place of sugar and vanilla to create a delicious, unexpected appetizer. Cut the cake into small wedges and serve it with crackers, grapes, and nuts.
Top it off: Don't stop at the cake. Fresh fruit, chocolate shavings, and pie filling are all classic and delicious cheesecake toppings. Looking for a more sophisticated touch? Try topping your cheesecake with ginger and brandy-infused peach marmalade. For a warm finish, try pecans glazed with brown sugar and butter.
Presentation: Show off your hard work by displaying your cheesecake on a beautiful serving tray or pedestal.
Stylish serving: A beautiful plate can make the difference between an ordinary treat and an epicurean experience. Serve your cheesecake on a lovely dessert plate to make a final statement.