Do you remember me mentioning we had house guests recently? Well, these friends who stayed with us have forever changed our lives!
Our friends gave thanks our way by gifting us with an electric pressure cooker! This new kitchen gadget has changed my life. I love this method of cooking. It’s quick, it’s easy…and so far…knock on wood…I’ve only had successful dishes.
Initially, I was a little hesitant about pressure cooking. My mom had an old-school, stove top type of pressure cooker when I was young. That pressure cooker made loud noises (hissing and bubbling) and would shake, rattle and roll a bit on the stove. If I remember correctly, my dad wouldn’t step foot in the kitchen if that pot was in use. It seems, when he was young, his mom also had a pressure cooker. Hers blew it’s top…literally. The top popped off in the middle of cooking. Not only was it quite scary…it was quite a mess and I do believe it dented the ceiling. The pressure cookers of today, I’m assured by my friends (and subsequent Google searches), won’t do that…blow their tops, that is… 😉
The first dish I made was a pot roast. Delicious…and done in about an hour. I’ve prepared dried beans for soup…no overnight soaking required…just about 45 minutes in the cooker. Amazing! We’ve enjoyed lip smacking, good ribs and a flavorful, cider braised pork loin.
And then there was this cheesecake. Yes, desserts can be made in a pressure cooker too. I might add, I do recommend reading the instructions fully before cooking…like covering the top of the cheesecake…oops. I was initially left with a “dewy” topped cheesecake due to the steam in the cooker. A quick dab with paper towel and a five minute bake in the oven solved that though…phew.
The consistency of the cheesecake was spot on perfect. Considering a lot of cheesecake recipes instruct to bake in a water bath, pressure cooking makes a lot of sense. It’s basically steam (and subsequent heat) that cooks whatever is in the pot.
I made up the recipe (you see here) as I went along. I referred back to a New York Style cheesecake instructions included with my cooker and jazzed it up a bit. I ended up using crushed pizzelles for the crust…with excellent results. The toffee bits added another layer of flavor. Finally, a last minute desire for a bit more chocolate pushed me to make a cocoa whipped cream to top off the cheesecake. Yummylicious. This cheesecake can easily be baked in an oven as well. It will just take a little longer. Alternate cooking directions are in the recipe below.
Toffee Bit Cheesecake
For the filling:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup toffee bits (I used Heath bits from the bakery aisle)
- In a small bowl, mix the crushed pizzelles with the melted butter. Firmly press the mixture in the bottom and up the side (a little less than an inch) of the pan; set aside.
- If using the oven, preheat to 350°F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar on medium. Mix well.
- Add the vanilla, egg, cornstarch and sour cream. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
- Stir in the toffee (Heath) bits by hand until evenly distributed in the cheese mixture.
- Pour the mixture in the prepared, crust-lined pan.
- If using an oven, place the cheesecake (uncovered) on rack in middle of oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool and chill as in steps 13 and 14.
- If using an electric pressure cooker, cover the cheesecake with foil. Make an aluminum foil “sling” to help with removal of the pan after cooking. (see photo below)
- Place a small metal rack in the bottom of your pressure cooker (mine came with one). Pour 1½ cups of water in the bottom of the cooker.
- Place the covered cheesecake in the sling, and place on the rack.
- Securely lock the cooker’s lid and set for 15 minutes on high.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before performing a quick release of any remaining pressure.
- Remove the cheesecake, uncover and cool at least one hour, at room temperature, on a wire rack.
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.
To make a foil “sling”: Cut an approximate 24-inch long piece of foil. Fold, accordion style, to about a 3-inch wide strip. Bring ends together, fold to make a sling/loop of foil. Place pan in bottom of sling. Place in cooker and “adjust” foil sling below the lid level before locking the cooker.
Cocoa Whipped Cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
•Refrigerate a medium size bowl and beaters until very cold. Combine cream and vanilla in the bowl and beat on medium speed 1 minute. Add the sugar, sour cream and cocoa. Beat on medium speed just until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. [Caution – over-beating will make the cream grainy – so keep an eye on the clock and the consistency.]