How I bake cheesecake

When I baked my pumpkin cheesecake with three-chili powder for my company’s Thanksgiving potluck lunch, I baked at 325 ° and baked until it reached an internal temperature of 150 °. I put the filled 9″ springform mold into a big baking tray then put some hot water into the tray. (I wrapped the bottom of the springform mold with foil to keep water out.) I believe the moisture helps keep the cheesecake’s top from drying out and cracking.

I used a baking thermostat that beeps when a set temperature is reached. At 150 °, I turned off the oven and let the cheesecake sit until an inserted cake tester came out clean. Then I opened the oven door and kept it ajar for about twenty minutes, then opened the oven door all the way for another twenty minutes, and finally took it out of the oven and ran a knife around the edge to release the crust from the mold. Doing so relieved tension in the batter as the cheesecake cooled and shrank away from the mold, avoiding cracking. I let it cool on the table for another twenty minutes. That yielded a perfectly baked cheesecake: not too overdone, and no cracks.

I chilled the cheesecake overnight in the fridge, loosely covered.

three-chili pumpkin cheesecake