Irish Cream Cheesecake

Irish Cream Cheesecake
Irish Cream Cheesecake

Everyone must know by now how much my family likes cheesecake, so I make at least one a week.  Seriously, at least one.  I also like to try different flavors.  This one is quite tasty and I must admit the idea to use Irish Cream came after I already added the heavy cream, so please feel free to skip the heavy cream and increase the amount of Irish Cream for a fuller flavor.

You can see in the photo the white “topping” layer. Do not skip this step.  I add it to nearly every cheesecake that I make and it adds a little something to the flavor while also avoiding a plain, flat cheesecake top which can detract from the creamy goodness below.

To the recipe!

Crust – gf (8″ pan)

1 1/4 c. shortbread or gingerbread cookie crumbs
1/4 c. ground nuts (I used almonds, but pecans or walnuts are wonderful too)
1/4 c. brown sugar
6 tsp. unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake filling

3 pkgs. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese (full fat only), at room temp.
1 cups sugar
¼ cup heavy cream (or 1/2 c. Irish Cream and no heavy cream)
¼ cup Irish Cream
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Topping

16 oz. sour cream
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. Irish Cream

Crust
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare a 8″ springform pan by wrapping the outside with plastic wrap, then again with foil. You will be baking the cheesecake in a water bath, so it is imperative to keep the water from seeping in. You can stop here, but I also line the inside with parchment paper. This is tricky to write, but here goes. Take a long piece parchment and place it on the bottom of the springform pan; then, put the bottom into the round from the bottom, the parchment should remain relatively flat. Snap the springform and then wrap with saran and foil. This makes it easier to slid off of the bottom and onto your serving plate but it unnecessary if you don’t care to do it. Bake for 12-15 minutes or unitl set and beginning to brown. Set on a rack to cool, do not remove the wrapping.

2. In a food processor, add your cookies and process until it is in small crumbs. Move to a bowl and process the nuts until the same size as the cookie crumbs. Add to the bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix until well incorporated. Stream in the melted butter and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and if there is enough, partially up the sides. Bake at 350 Degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set. Allow to fully cool to room temperature. Do not refrigerate.

Topping

3. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream sugar and Irish Cream and set aside, covered, on the counter. You want this at room temperature when you put it on the cheesecake.

Cheesecake

4. Heat the oven to 325° (note that the oven is cooler than when baking the crust) and place your baking pan (not the crust, the pan that will hold the water and crust; I use a large roaster) in the over to warm. In a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and sugar, blend for several minutes until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom every minute or so. The smoother your filling as you mix, the creamier your cheesecake will be. Add the almond extract while still mixing. Scrape the sides again, and add the cream in a slow stream. Continue mixing and scraping, and add the Irish Cream. When fully incorporated and smooth, add the eggs – one at a time – and continue mixing. Be sure to crack the eggs, 1 by 1, into a measuring cup or small bowl to be sure that none of the shell accidentally falls into the mixing bowl. Pour the cheesecake into the prepared pan and place the pan into the roasting pan that is also preheated. Add boiling water to the roasting pan taking care not to get any water into the cheesecake batter. Put enough water to come 1/3 of the way up the sides of the cheesecake. Bake for 60-75 minutes. Open the door of the oven and pull the cheesecake out. The sides will be firm, but the center of the cheesecake will giggle slightly, truly slightly, when you tap the side with a wooden spoon.

5. Immediately pour the room temperature topping on the cheesecake, smooth it out with an offset knife and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and from the water bath. Immediately place on a cooling rack and remove the foil/plastic wrap. Don’t burn yourself, but take the wrapping off as soon as possible as it will be holding water. Allow to cool for an hour then refrigerate until fully cooled before cutting, at least 6 hours, but better if you can refrigerate for 8 before cutting.

6. Run an offset knive around the edge fo the ring, and unsnap. Remove the ring and move the cheesecake to your serving platter. I grated a little fresh nutmeg over the top.

Serve alone, or with an additional topping of your choice. This cheesecake pairs nicely wth a caramel drizzel and a nice cup of espresso.

Vanilla Cheesecake with a Shortbread and Almond Crust – and it is gluten-free.

Vanilla cheesecake with a shortbread almond crust
Vanilla cheesecake with a shortbread almond crust

Cheesecake is so fabulous that I’m considering giving it its own category. From preparing the pan to having the patience for the right technique to toppings. It all matters and when the individual parts come together you will have created a creamy, cool, delicious and highly adaptable dessert that nearly everyone will love! And when someone tells you that they don’t like cheesecake assure them that they just haven’t tried the right one for them yet!  A cheesecake can be dressed for a hot day in the sun with some fresh lemon curd (see related post) or for thanksgiving with my related pumpkin version.  You can make a raspberry swirl topped with dark chocolate Grenache or an Almond Joy  the flavor options are endless, and if you have a request for a flavor combination send it over to me in my Cooks Q&A Section and I’ll work it out for you.

I just sold myself, here comes a new category. Two actually, it will be in Tea Parties also.

Back to the cheesecake.  The basics:  only use full fat cream cheese. This is not the time or place for a low-fat version. It just doesn’t work. If you’re going to make a cheesecake, do it right. If you want to count calories, go for a walk with a pedometer 😝and a dog🐶.  Both you and Fido will be happy!  But I digress….to the recipe!

Vanilla cheesecake with a shortbread almond crust
Vanilla cheesecake with a shortbread almond crust

Prepare Your 9″ Springform Pan

Watch the video.

Crust – gf

1 1/4 c. shortbread cookie crumbs
1/4 c. ground nuts (I used almonds, but pecans or walnuts are wonderful too)
1/4 c. brown sugar
6 tsp. unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake

4 pkgs. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese (full fat only), room temp.
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Topping

16 oz. sour cream
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Crust

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Prepare a 9″ springform pan by wrapping the outside with plastic wrap, then again with foil. You will be baking the cheesecake in a water bath, so it is imperative to keep the water from seeping in. You can stop here, but I also line the inside with parchment paper. Grease the bottom and the insides of the walls with butter, then roll your parchment in a cone shape and cut to make a big circle. Press the parchment into the buttered pan and it will stick.

2. In a food processor, add your cookies and process until it is in small crumbs. Move to a bowl and process the nuts until the same size as the cookie crumbs. Add to the bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix until well incorporated. Stream in the melted butter and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and if there is enough, partially up the sides. Bake at 350 Degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set. Allow to fully cool to room temperature. Do not refrigerate.

Topping

3. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream with 1/4 cup the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla bean paste and set aside. If you refrigerate, be sure to bring it back to room temperature before adding to the cheesecake.

4. Heat the oven to 325°. Add all of the cream cheese and 1 1/4 c. sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on low, #2 or 3 until incorporated. Scrape down the sides frequently. This step is critical to creaminess. Add the vanilla bean paste until incorporated. Scrape the sides and add the cream in a slow stream. When incorporated, add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing. Be sure to crack the eggs, 1 by 1, into a measuring cup or small bowl to be sure that none of the shell accidentally falls into the mixing bowl. Add 1/4 tsp. of almond extract and continue mixing. Zest about 1/2 of a lemon into the mixing bowl. Be sure to not get any of the white pith from the lemon, it is bitter. Pour the cheesecake into the prepared pan and place the pan into a larger roasting pan. Add boiling water to the roasting pan taking care not to get any water into the cheesecake batter. Put enough water to come 1/3 to 1/2 way up the sides of the cheesecake. Bake for 60-75 minutes. Open the door of the oven and pull the cheesecake out. The sides will be firm, but the center of the cheesecake will giggle slightly.

5. Immediately pour the room temperature topping on the cheesecake, smooth it out with an offset knife and return to the oven for 10 minutes (A bit longer, 15 minutes, if the topping is cold). Remove from the oven and from the water bath. If you did not use parchment paper, run an offset knife around the edge. Allow to cool on a rack for about an hour, then refrigerate until fully cooled before cutting, about 4 hours.

6. Remove the ring from the springform pan and move the cheesecake to a cake plate before serving.

Serve with a topping of your choice, I like serving it with lemon curd, see my related recipe in the “tea party” section if you would like to try it this way.