November 21, 2005 8:50 PM   Subscribe

How far in advance can one make a cheesecake?

I am making a cheesecake for Thanksgiving. Due to various circumstances (friend making drag debut tomorrow night, concert tickets for Wednesday), it looks like I will either have to make it tonight and chill it for a couple days, or make it Thursday morning and cut the six hours chill time short.

Which would be better?
posted by Kellydamnit to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It will taste cheesier and better after a few days; in fact, some recipes recommend this. Make it now.
posted by climalene at 8:53 PM on November 21, 2005

If you're making a traditional baked cheesecake, they freeze extremely well. Make it tonight, chill it down in the refrigerator, and put it in the freezer, then thaw it on Thursday. The key is to first chill it in the refrigerator, then also thaw it in the frig on Thursday.

There may be some condensation on the surface, but you can just dab that off with a paper towel.
posted by trip and a half at 8:55 PM on November 21, 2005

(Just to be clear, cool it as close to room temperature as you can before you refrigerate it, then get it nice and cold in the frig before you freeze it. This will help keep the texture intact.)
posted by trip and a half at 9:04 PM on November 21, 2005

Response by poster: Unfortunately freezing really isn't an option. Tiny apartment sized vintage fridge with an even smaller freezer, we would have to defrost a month's worth of frozen groceries to fit anything in there.
(yet another reason why I'm glad to have a roommate for future apartment hunts. Victorian charm won me over, and I barely noticed the dilapidated appliances.)
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:08 PM on November 21, 2005

I don't think there is any need to freeze it. It should easily keep in the fridge until thanksgiving.
posted by Good Brain at 9:15 PM on November 21, 2005

Best answer: It won't matter. Really. Just cool it to room temp and tuck it in the frig. Wrap it closely in plastic wrap -- there will be surface condensation, but just dab it away. As climalene said, it will only taste "cheesier and better". Do make it tonight. Happy Thanksgiving!

(By the way, that is exactly what stuck me in this charming Victorian apartment with no mod cons! I'm a sucker for hardwood floors and built-in doo-dads.)
posted by trip and a half at 9:15 PM on November 21, 2005

Response by poster: Well, I've got everything made, and then realized I don't have a pan big enough for the water bath. (I just bought a new springform pan yesterday.)


Hopefully the filling will keep in the fridge until tomorrow afternoon, as any place I could buy a pan at is long since closed. (after midnight here, grocery store is not 24-7)
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:43 PM on November 21, 2005

Best answer: The filling will be fine until tomorrow, but it'll have raw eggs in it, so do keep well refrigerated. If the bit about the raw eggs worries you at all, a cookie sheet (or better yet, a jelly roll sheet), some cardboard and most of a roll of tinfoil can be used to create an effective water bath. I know this because my springform pan, which I love very much, does not fit in my roasting pan, which I also love very much, and I'm not willing to replace either of them. Just use several layers of tinfoil around the cardboard, and make sure they go all the way around and underneath. Then put it on the cookie sheet, put the springform inside and fill the water bath once it's all in the oven already. Because of the potential for leakage, I recommend not taking the water bath out of the oven until it's cooled completely, just pull the pan out of the middle of it once you're done baking.

It's my opinion that two nights ahead of time is the optimal time to make cheese cake, so it has at least one full 24 hours to settle into itself, so the timing you're working on now sounds about perfect.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:52 PM on November 21, 2005

you can make them a few days in advance, but keep in mind the longer it sits the soggier the crust will end up being.

the water bath isn't completely necessary, imo.
posted by booknerd at 9:53 PM on November 21, 2005

Response by poster: Well, I don't have the filling in the pan yet, so I think I'll put it in a plastic container in the fridge and hope for the best.

I don't even have a cookie sheet (my kitchen is just sad), so I'm going to pick up a disposable foil roaster tomorrow.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:02 PM on November 21, 2005

What jacquilynne said. The foil roaster should do just fine. I do that kind of thing all the time. It'll be fine. Just keep it (the cake) separate from the water. I also recommend moving it as little as possible (just pull the shelf out) and let it cool down that way.
posted by trip and a half at 10:14 PM on November 21, 2005

Kelly, don't sweat it: Somebody at the drag show is bound to have the perfect pan.
posted by rob511 at 10:58 PM on November 21, 2005

Best answer: We have a bakery. You're doing all the right things. The batter's fine as long as it's refrigerated. You're absolutely right about using a water bath, too. Bake it today and let it set overnight. It'll taste even better after a day of rest.

If you have leftovers, freeze 'em. One use for frozen cheesecake remnants is chopping them up and adding them to ice cream batter, btw.
posted by Atom12 at 6:44 AM on November 22, 2005

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