Prep 4 hrs
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Recipe courtesy Sherry Yard, Pastry Chef of Spago Beverly(from Food Network.com)
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (1 lb. 8 oz.)
- 1 1⁄4 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- In a heavy metal saucepot combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Over high heat cook the sugar to a deep caramel color and pour out into a round 9-inch cake pan, turning around the perimeter so as to cover the sides and bottom of the pan. Set aside to cool completely while you make the cake.
- Cheesecake Base:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on low speed work the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and orange zest. Continue to mix for 2 minutes until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and scrape down after each addition.
- On low speed slowly stream in the heavy cream. Scrape down every 30 seconds. Remove from bowl and pour out into prepared cool caramel pan.
- Bake in a hot water bath for 1 hour. When finished the cake will be slightly firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and place in the refrigerator. Make sure to cool down for at least 4 hours before flipping over. The cake can be made up to 2 days in advance.
- Flip over by placing a 12-inch flat plate over the top of the cake pan. Hold with a firm grip and flip cake upside down. Let the pan sit on top for a second. Lift pan off the cake and serve on its own or with berries.
OK. I am totally willng to change this rating if I can figure out what went wrong. I wondered from the beginning if having the carmelized sugar syrup on the bottom of the cake pan would present a problem trying to get the cheesecake out of the pan. I was right. It was impossible. I did the sugar til it turned a carmel color like the directions stated. I poured it in the bottom of a regular non-stick cake pan. Waited for the syrup to cool and then put the cheesecake mixture on top and followed the directions for baking, cooling, etc. It was IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the pan. We even torched the bottom of the cake pan trying to warm up the carmelized sugar so it would release. It eventually did but was so hard you could break a tooth on it. I had to remove the carmel and spoon the cake into glasses like a parfait. The cheesecake had wonderful flavor. Perhaps one should use a thermometer when making the syrup. Perhaps mine went too far in temp..... I don't know. I won't be following these directions again.... for the carmel....
No question, this is a five-star recipe. Everyone raved about this dessert. I did not have a vanilla bean so used a teaspoon of very good quality vanilla extract and it worked fine. I omitted the orange zest but it didn't matter--it is delicious and has a wonderful light texture and superb taste.