Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Take 2, Follow-up

I could've dumped this cheesecake into the garbage, but man, what a tremendous waste, throwing a cheesecake out with the bath water. Better than that would be to investigate what can be done to salvage a cheesecake if during baking water got into it. I wouldn't bother with this if I'd used a dirty broiler pan or if I'd used pasta water in it to cook the cheesecake. My water and pan were clean, so technically it's just about getting the water out.

After letting the cheesecake cool to room temperature a few hours while I worked on Take 3, I took the springform pan sides off the cooled, potentially water-logged cheesecake. The red arrow points out water in the groove where the pan bottom seats.

Well, technically, it points to glare from the light bouncing off the water.

And here's the cheesecake with the sides removed. It looks really good and it's a shame I had this wet crust problem.

The first thing I thought to do is to put the cheesecake in the warm oven overnight. The oven was off but still had lots of residual heat from having baked Take 3.

After about 8 hours, the cheesecake was removed from the cold oven, placed on a plate and put in the refrigerator uncovered before I went to work. After work, I pulled the cheesecake from the refrigerator. It had some moisture on the top.

It still looked good.

So I took a wedge out. If you look super closely, you can see some beads of water on the pan where the slice was removed. The slice came out quite cleanly without the crust disintegrating or crumbling too much more than I'd expect anyway.

Man! Look at it! I prefer the texture of my cheesecake to be a little more "done", but this wasn't bad. (I don't think that was because of the water because the cheesecake I took to work looked like this too.) And if I didn't know better, I wouldn't have thought there was anything weird with the crust. I guess that's what's good about cream cheese - it's so incredibly tasty that even a slightly damp crust isn't that bad.

I really looked for major faults as I ate the entire wedge, crust and all. The cheese portion above the crust did not seem to have been altered by the water. Considering the fat content, cheesecakes might have water resistance properties.

After chilling in the refrigerator about 4 more hours, I thought it made sense to cut another wedge. This time I wanted to look specifically at the integrity of the crust. Even when the slice is plopped onto a plate without much care, the crust held together very well.

Looking at the crust, moisture can be observed in it, but it's not so much that it's dripping or pooling or oozing in any way. It just looks a little damp. And this slice tasted just as good as the first one a few hours earlier.

Final notes:
I continued taking a slice from the uncovered refrigerated cheesecake daily, for about a week, collecting mental notes. The crust did very gradually get drier until it reached a level I'd expect from a cheesecake if it hadn't suffered water influx. I'd have kept taking mental notes but I ran out of specimen.