So often, home cooks creating their favorite 10-inch cheesecake recipe devote all their energy to getting the body of the cake just right that they neglect the crust. They tinker and tweak, adding flavors and changing ingredients incessantly to get just the perfect balance of taste and texture.
And, through it all, that generic graham cracker crust sits below. Whatever exotic flavors are poured into it, whatever rave reviews the cheesecake draws, that graham cracker crust gets none of the glory. I've even seen people eat the cheesecake out of the crust, leaving it lost and forlorn on the plate.
Strike a blow for fairness and make your crust stand up and be noticed by working with its flavor to either match or set off the flavor of your cheesecake.
Take, for example, the peanut butter cheesecake, one of the most popular variations on the basic recipe. To take it to the peanut butter max, use crushed peanut butter cookies for the crust. Or, if you're a Reese's fan, smash up some chocolate cookies for your base.
Making a turtle cheesecake, another one of the big favorites? Your options here are legion. Personally, I'd stick with the chocolate cookies, although vanilla wafers can provide a nice counterpoint to the many strong flavors of the turtle recipe.
Maybe you're going in a more brunch-type direction, with a light lemon cheesecake? Lemon cookies, especially the soft ones like those made by Archway cookies, make great crust ideas. You can also go with the vanilla wafers here, too.
Basically, any sort of cookie or other crunchy or semi-crunchy baked good you can lay hands on can become a cheesecake crust. Ever heard of or been lucky enough to sample a savory cheesecake? You can make a crust for one of those out of salad croutons, believe it or not.
Whatever flavor the filling of your 10-inch cheesecake recipe takes on, do some work with the crust to make a match!
Andrew Krause is a Chef and Pastry Chef for over 30 years, at present I am retired, I owned a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner. You can visit my site at www.andies.cashhosters2.com
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