Baked Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 23:
This one ended up being my second "post-COVID" cheesecake, only a few weeks after my first, which itself was rather chocolate (Prototype 24 for that flavor). The plain one presented here, like the chocolate, got similarly updated (more info here).
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-1YG):
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 16 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 16 ounces (two 8-ounce packages) of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") springform pan, but do not wrap foil around it yet (see below).

2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
6 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the batter (to minimize the foil's disturbance and therefore its leakage risk, do not put it on any earlier).

Next, pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 90 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then cool the cheesecake down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 120 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 23

For this prototype, I reduced the xanthan gum to just one teaspoon (i.e., down by 1/2 of a teaspoon) after having a bit of a "rubbery" experience with the aforementioned chocolate Prototype 24. The outcome for this plain cheesecake was terrific! I felt that the texture was nearly perfect—not too rubbery, yet not too soft either.

But what about the more extensive, 20-minute pre-bake time for the crust? Well, it seemed fine also, at least when it was cold enough (this crust did get a little soft at room temperature, which meant that the cheesecake would be better off when sliced and served cold).

I originally made this cheesecake for an outdoor Sukkot event which was to take place on a Friday night in late September of 2021, weather permitting—otherwise, the "rain date" would be the Saturday that immediately followed. I hoped like crazy (and prayed) in favor of Friday, because I was not scheduled for a work shift for that evening—however, I was scheduled for one on that Saturday night. As things turned out, earlier forecasts for Friday evening seemed encouraging, so I took the chance and committed to making my cheesecake, which required starting the process with the yogurt cheese ahead of time. But revisions in weather forecasts over the next few days took a turn for the worse. Still, I followed through in completing the cheesecake making as the rainy threat for Friday evening increased. Ultimately, I got an e-mail announcement with what was, to me personally, "the bad news": Saturday was the day decided upon for the Sukkot celebration! Although I frowned over my misfortune, I tried to come up with some kind solution to my surplus problem. I was able to unload slices on a couple of my biggest fans around mid-day on that Saturday. On the Sunday morning that followed, I brought the remaining slices, individually wrapped, to Living Hope Church in Beverly. As I walked around and passed them out, they went incredibly fast. These well-received treats were taken off my hands in perhaps less than a couple of minutes. One reason might have been that it was probably over 20 months since I last brought a cheesecake to this church. Hey, I certainly wasn't the only one who missed my cheesecakes! Anyway, it seemed like this blessed outcome at Living Hope was an awaited answer to prayer! And who knows—with there likely being a bunch of other competing desserts at the Sukkot event, I might have ended up having more difficulty unloading my cheesecake there.

Nearly eight months later, I repeated this prototype for the Memorial Day cookout at my Home Depot workplace—my very first cheesecake this side of COVID to be officially served there! It was well-received—and gone in only two hours—an awesome hit!

Close to a year after that Home Depot barbecue—it was now early April of 2023—I baked this one again, this time for a Palm Sunday potluck meal at Living Hope Church in Beverly. This was my first cheesecake "officially" served there for all those in attendance (as opposed to "informally" handing out individual slices) this side of COVID. However, I made a small adjustment in the crust's pre-bake time, increasing it to 25 minutes in my quest for a less-soggy crust, particularly when serving this dessert close to room temperature. Unfortunately, that seemed to end up hardly making a difference. Perhaps the batter's wetness still penetrated the crust too much. Nevertheless, this cheesecake was enthusiastically received at this potluck.

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