Friday, January 25, 2013

Inauguration Recipes: Eli's Cheesecake Company's 'Original Style' And 'Chocolate Chip' Cheesecakes

The recipes to recreate home versions of the 500-pound beauty served at President Obama's Staff Inaugural Ball...
The good folks at Chicago's Eli's Cheesecake Company have shared the home versions of their recipes for the the 500-pound showstopper of a cheesecake that was the star of the menu at President Obama's Staff Inaugural Ball on Tuesday night.  The giant cake was created with alternate layers of "Original Style Plain" and "Chocolate Chip" cheesecake, and featured a replica of the Capitol Dome on top, complete with the gold Statue of Freedom that's on the real dome. Gold stars and medallions of the Presidential Seal decorated the buttercream-covered layers.  (Above, the President and Mrs. Obama greet guests at the Staff Inaugural Ball)

The cheesecake got loads of attention from guests on Twitter, as did Ball headliner Lady Gaga.  It was baked at Eli's headquarters in the President's hometown, then driven to DC under the care of its mastermind, executive pastry chef Laurel Bolger, and put together ahead of the party at the Washington Convention Center.  Not a crumb was left, Eli's president Marc Shulman told Obama Foodorama.  The company goes down in history as having provided beauties for both of President Obama's inaugurations, as well as for President Bill Clinton's two inaugurations. (Above, one of many tweeted photos)

"We're very proud," Schulman said.  "Four times in twenty years is pretty spectacular."

Beloved in the Windy City, Eli's has been making their cheesecakes since 1980, when Schulman's father--the Eli--started started offering the treat at his legendary restaurant Eli's The Place for Steak. The company ships their many flavored cheesecakes and other desserts around the US, and if you'd like a true taste of the real deal, the website is here.  President Obama is a longtime fan:  He posed with a chocolate-covered Eli's cheesecake created for President Abraham Lincoln's Bicentennial Birthday Banquet in February of 2009, in Springfield, Ill..  The President gave the keynote. 

A 9-inch spring-form pan is needed for Eli's home cheesecake recipes.  After being baked, the cakes must be refrigerated for at least eight hours or overnight before being served.  There are three options for the crust:  The Original Plain Style has either a Graham Cracker or Vanilla Wafer Crust, while the Chocolate Chip uses either a Chocolate Crumb Crust or the Graham Cracker Crust.  Preparation time is about 20 minutes for each cake before baking.  The recipes serve 12, depending on portion size.

Some fascinating stats on the Ball masterpiece:  It was covered in 100 pounds of buttercream frosting, and used 155 pounds of cream cheese, 50 pounds of butter, 45 pounds of sugar, 40 pounds of sour cream, 20 pounds of flour, 15 pounds of chocolate chips, 5 pounds of powdered sugar, 20 dozen eggs, and two cups of Madagascar vanilla.
 

Eli's Original Style Plain Cheesecake
2013 Inauguration Edition

Ingredients

*4 Packages Cream Cheese, 8 ounces each, softened

*1 Cup Sugar


*2  Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour


*2 Large Eggs


*1 Egg Yolk


*6 Tablespoons Sour Cream


*1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
 

*Graham Cracker or Vanilla Wafer cookie crust for 9-inch spring form pan (recipe follows)

Method
1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 


2.  Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour in mixing bowl of an electric mixer until light and creamy. 

3.  Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl until completely incorporated. 

4.  Add sour cream and vanilla. Beat mixture, scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth.

5.  Pour mixture into prepared crust (recipe below) in un-greased 9-inch spring form pan; place on cookie sheet. 


6.  Bake until cake is firm around edge and center barely jiggles when tapped, about 45 minutes. 

7.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight to completely set up before serving.

Vanilla Wafer Crumb Crust
*1 1/2  Cups Vanilla Wafers, ground

*1/2  Cup Powder Sugar

*3/4 Cup Melted Butter


>>Mix all ingredients in medium bowl using your fingertips until mixture is well moistened.  Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the spring-form pan.
 

Graham Cracker Crumb Crust
*1 1/2  Cups Graham Cracker Meal
 

*1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
 

*3/4 Cup Melted Butter
 

*1/2  Tsp. Cinnamon

>>Mix all ingredients in medium bowl using your fingertips until mixture is well moistened.  Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the spring-form pan.


*Serves 12, depending on portion size

Eli's Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
2013 Inauguration Edition

To make the chocolate chip version of the cheesecake, add 1 1/2 Cups Miniature Bittersweet Chocolate Chips after Step Four in the recipe for Eli's Original Cheesecake, above.  Stir the chips in gently, and then pour the mix into the spring-form pan on top of the crust.  Use the Graham Cracker Crust, or use Eli's recipe for a Chocolate Crumb Crust:

Chocolate Crumb Crust
*1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Wafers, ground

*1/2 Cup Powder Sugar

*3/4 Cup Melted Butter

>>Mix all ingredients in medium bowl using your fingertips until mixture is well moistened.  Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the spring-form pan.


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*Photos courtesy of Marc Schulman, Eli's Cheesecake Company; Twitter photo by @SamaN1