Instant Pot: Low & Lush Cheesecake

I've always liked cheesecake and for a long time, I was intimidated to attempt making it at home. The whole business with a bain marie, making a crust, baking the filling without cracking, etc... it was all too much! But I have to thank my dad for encouraging me to make it from scratch.

I just started high school and my younger siblings were still in grade school. It would be a random weekend night and while my mom was off working, my dad treated us to a night out. My dad used to make it a regular outing to take us all out to Baker's Square at least once a month. We would indulge in a sampler of appetizers and end our meal with a slice of their famous pies. But not my dad - he'd always order their plain cheesecake, sometimes topped with strawberries. It was his favorite 'American' dessert because he loved the creamy texture and how it wasn't too sugary sweet.

One day my dad asked me if I could make a cheesecake. I took his request and went to work finding a recipe I could try out. I finally found one from of those flimsy cookbook mini-magazines featuring Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. I followed the recipe exactly and bingo! It was exactly what my dad was looking for and he said it was even better than the cheesecake at Baker's Square. Ever since I learned how to make cheesecake at home, our outings to Baker's Square stopped. Now, my dad's most requested dessert is that specific cheesecake!

It's been awhile since I've made my dad a cheesecake so I hope to make Dorie's chocolate cheesecake recipe again for him. What's delicious about this recipe is that it's not overly sweet. In fact, the filling alone only uses 1/2 cup of sugar! The texture is smooth and silky without being overly rich. Even better is that the filling took no time at all to whip up in a food processor. This makes for a beautiful and elegant dessert for the upcoming holidays!


Low & Lush Chocolate Cheesecake
recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/3 of a cup of butter, melted

1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place. Add 1 cup water.

Place trivet into the IP with a foil sling on each trivet handle. This allows for easily lifting the cheesecake from the IP when finished cooking.

For the crust: Mix the crust ingredients together and press into bottom and sides of springform pan; set aside.

For the cheesecake: Cut each bar of cream cheese into quarters and toss the pieces into a food processor, along with the sugar. Process, scraping down the bowl 2 or 3 times, for a full 2 minutes. You’ll see how dramatically the cream cheese changes; it will look like white velvet at the end of its beating. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and give the batter 4 longish pulses, the scrape down the bowl and pulse 2 more times. Pour in the chocolate and pulse and scrape a few times to blend the batter well. 

Remove the bowl from the processor and rap it hard on the counter a couple of times to de-bubble the batter. Scrape the batter into your prepared springform pan. (I ended up having more batter than could fit in the pan, which I ended up baking in small tarts with a muffin pan)

Carefully place cheesecake onto the trivet set inside the IP within a sling.

Cover the cheesecake with a silicone lid or with a piece of paper towel / a piece of foil. These will prevent water from getting on top of the cheesecake. If some water does get on top, no worries as it will not negatively affect the end result.

Check that it is plugged in, secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to sealing.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 35 minutes on HIGH pressure if using a 6" springform pan, or 37 minutes on HIGH pressure if using a 7" springform pan.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 35 or 37 (the number of minutes you initially set ) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 35 or 37 minutes (depending on the size of your springform pan), allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes if using a 6" springform pan or 17 minutes if using a 7" springform pan. While naturally releasing pressure, the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP for this and allow for several minutes to do so.

When the display reflects 15 or 17 minutes since the IP has beeped, turn the setting on top of your IP to venting. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure. I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP and carefully remove the trivet with cheesecake using the foil sling.

Refrigerate the cheesecake for one day or overnight before serving. Garnish with fresh whipped cream if desired.

To serve, remove springform pan rim. Garnish with chocolate chips, fresh raspberries or strawberries, if desired.

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