Oh what I can do with a toaster oven!

Note before you read: This one is long and there are lots of pictures but hopefully it is worth it!

This is my toaster oven. Although everything is in Japanese it's really not that hard to figure out how to use it. There is only one dial, the timer. You cannot adjust the temperature. It runs at 950 watts and there are little pictures of different kinds of food and how many minutes to cook each. That is it. Very easy to use. But how do you use a toaster oven like this when you want to make a cheesecake? Well I can tell you because I did it.

First before I go into the use of the toaster oven let me start at the beginning of the day with my trip to the grocery store. I got to the store at 9:20 AM but the store didn't open until 10:00! I know! Crazy! So I waited in the parking lot for 40 minutes. Then with my iPhone in hand, with my epicurious application ready, I got everything I needed. I couldn't find any graham crackers so I got some biscuits (in the English sense of the word) instead. We don't have a food processor so I bought a mortar and pestle to grind the cookies up.

The last item on my list was no-salt butter. Except I can't read! Nothing here is in English. So I get out my iPhone with it's awesome dictionary, also you can draw the kangi characters with your finger and it will translate it. But it wasn't working all the time. So eventually, after staring at butter for 30 minutes, I found some characters that said "miss use" or "un use" or something next to butter and I took it!

So I get home and get to work! I have all my ingredients but still have a few more problems. Everything here is measured in grams (I don't know what 120 grams looks like, now 3/4 cup no problem, give me cups every time!). So, I found a conversion calculator online thankfully! Now, all the cheesecake recipes that I have assume you are using a 9 inch pan, mine are 4 inchers. After some searching it turns out that you can take one recipe for a 9 inch pan and make 4-4 inch cheesecakes. Halving the recipe, I start.

Also, I have nothing to measure with in this apartment because the guy who lived here before had no idea how to cook, bummer for me! All I have is a coffee cup and regular spoon and my eyes! (The American version, big style of this recipe will be at the end of this post.)
Here the bowl has grooves inside to make grinding easier, which is totally awesome!
Mixing the crust together

Press it into the pan(s) not all the way up the sides

Our favorite cream cheese actually comes from Australia and is packaged like sausage!

My sugar is fluffy not granules like back home. Tastes the same though, just harder to measure, but who's measuring :)

My punny new flower flour container!

All the dry ingredients together. I didn't bring my zester with me but my mother gave me this new cutting contraption before I left and I used it to zest instead. The pieces look waffle cut instead of tiny strips. Thanks Mom! The first time I made these I used zest from an orange and lemon (pictured is from grapefruit) but any citrus will do. Kind of fun to mix it up!

Dry ingredients mixed together. This was a big challenge because I do not own a blender! All by spoon baby, and I have the blister to prove it!

After wet ingredients, ready to pour

Pour to the top of the pan

Ok so the first one that I put in the toaster oven turned out like this:

This is because I totally forgot that there is a heating coil on bottom AND top! oops! My next idea was to take it out, turn the oven on for 10-15 minutes and let it get hot and then when it goes off I put it back in and close the door, using the residual heat to cook. That was taking too long and I didn't even know if that was working.

After many freaked out texts to Luke he said, "Did you try the tin foil." TIN FOIL why didn't I know we had tin foil! So I continued to cook this one until it was done with the tin foil on top to stop the burning. Another tricky thing about my toaster oven is that the timer dial only goes to 15 minutes! So I was constantly taking it out and checking it and guessing how much longer to put it in for. I learned from that when I put the second one in. When Luke got home I showed him the burnt one.

I wanted to cut the top layer off just to see what that would look like. Underneath was perfection! You couldn't even tell! Although now it did look strange because it had been cut. So to remedy that, being the cooking genius that I am, I quickly heated up a sauce pot, added some of the blueberry jelly that I use for PBJs, added some cinnamon and heated until liquid. I let that cool off a bit and then glazed the top.

Then it looked like this and tasted amazing! Just ask Luke and Wes and Andy! We ate it that night at a dinner party.

This is what it should look like when done (and what my 2nd, 3rd and 4th looked like)

A couple of comments about this recipe and cheesecake- this recipe was adapted from one in Gourmet magazine (bless them!). Like I mentioned earlier, if you are working with smaller pans like me you can divide this recipe in half or fourths. If you have never made cheesecake before, give it a try. It's really not this hard...usually! If you do make one after reading this, please let me know how it goes and send pictures! And if you venture over to this side of the world I promise that we can make one together or I will have one waiting for you!

New York Cheesecake
for crust
  • 1 1/2 cups (5 oz) finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers or gingersnaps (any crunchy cookie will do)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
for filling
  • 5 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter (9 inch) springform pan. If you use a non-stick pan I don't ever butter it. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 550°F.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, and zests with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 12 minutes, or until puffed. Reduce temperature to 200°F and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour more.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.



Dad said...

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING that you have learned to do all that with a toaster oven!! I'd love to eat one of those cheesecakes, I'll tell you!!

Mighty said...

Mouthwatering! Thanks for the recipe. I'm gonna try it too with my toaster oven at home. I'll just grab your new york cheesecake recipe. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm reading through your blog today. Many apologies for not taking the time to do so earlier. I'm glad the "cutting thingy" was helpful when making the cheesecake. You are so inventive!! Love, Mom

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