i’ve been trying to figure out how to bring Y, who lives on the other side of the world, a cheesecake that will survive the 18 hour plane ride. i’ve proposed everything from putting the cake in deep freeze (which she claims will ruin the texture, plus i’m not entirely sure that cheesecake doesn’t qualify as a gel like substance) to bringing cream cheese with me and making the cake fresh at her place (though she claims not to have a kitchen aid standmixer). and, on top of it all, y is lactose intolerant — meaning that she either has to remember to take her lactose pill prior to ingestion or i can concoct a lactose free version of cheesecake.
i thought that cheesecake bars might be the perfect compromise in terms of “travel-ability.” being about an inch in height, the bars are a lot more sturdy than a full-fledged cheesecake. i think i can slice them up, and place them into a tightly packed tin in the bottom of my suitcase.
as for the lactose intolerance bit, i read somewhere that cultured cheese, yogurts and creams are in fact lactose free. the trouble is that many commercially made cream cheeses (like Philadelphia Cream Cheese) have somehow managed to kill the culture in the process of making cream cheese — thereby, letting lactose brew rampantly. as long as i looked for cream cheese with a live culture (like nancy’s cultured cream cheese — sometimes sold at WF), i’d be good to proceed on the lactose free highway. barring that, i could take a few cannisters of cultured sour cream, and let them drain overnight until they became cream cheese.
i decided to do a test run of the cheesecake bars this weekend but used regular cream cheese. i have tasted cultured cream cheese in the past, and it tastes a bit more sour than Philadelphia brand. my guess is that one would need to add a bit more sugar than in the recipe. then again, nothing beats sticking one’s finger into the batter to judge taste. i’m making the lactose free version next week and will let you know if i think any additional changes should be made.
(about nine bars baked in an 8×8 inch square pan)
|Graham crackers||2 cups|
|Butter||8 tbsp, softened|
|Cream cheese||16 oz, softened and at room temp|
|Eggs||2 large ones|
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Butter baking pan and set-aside.
- Crush graham crackers in food processor or with hands until resembles corn meal.
- Place graham crackers crumbs, salt and softened butter in standmixer with paddle attachment. Mix until well combined.
- Pour crumb mixture into baking pan. Using bottom of cup to compact the crumbs. Press the edges up to side of pan (about 1/2 inch).
- Bake the crust until the edges are light brown (about 20 minutes).
- Add cream cheese to cleaned bowl of stand mixer. Whip on medium speed for 2 minutes. Use rubber spatula to scrape down sides. Then add eggs, whip for 3 minutes. Followed by sugar, salt and vanilla.
- When crust is ready, remove from oven and pour the filling into the hot crust. Continue baking for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling has set.
- Remove from oven and cool in pan. When completely cooled (it will more easily crack when inverting if not completely cooled), invert the cheesecake, and slice into bars. (it helps to run your knife through very hot water, when slicing).