Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cheesecake and smoke alarms

That doesn't sound like a good combination, does it? Well, trust me, it wasn't a pretty one.

I decided yesterday that I'd make Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I have never owned a spring form pan in my life, so had to go buy one. I got it home, washed it, dried it and set out to make my cheesecake. All was going fine except I couldn't get the crumbs to stay on the sides of the pan. Ok, fine, not a big deal, it'll be good regardless of how high up on the sides the crumb crust is, right? Right.

So, I plopped it in the oven - ok, I didn't plop it because that would have made a big mess and there was already a big mess in my future unknown to me at the time. So, I put it in the oven and set about to get the boys ready for bed as I was cooking it last night. Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes. I came in here and sat down while they were brushing their teeth. Fifteen minutes into the baking, I start to smell this really weird smell. What the heck? I walked into the kitchen and peeked into the oven. Smoke was EVERYWHERE inside the oven. Ok, what is causing that? The timer still read 55 minutes to go, my cheesecake wasn't burning!

Then I saw it, the clear, sticky liquid dripping down from bottom of my spring form pan. And it was THEN that I realized (as a novice spring form pan user) that I should have taken the dang pan apart when I washed it and dried it. See, I was in a hurry to get-er-done like I always am and just assumed skipping that step would be ok. I mean, it was brand new, it wasn't really dirty, right? Well, apparently, there was still water in there somewhere as I put it into the oven and now that was dripping out of the pan and onto the coils and base of my oven causing the smoke. What to do? I slid a cookie sheet on the rack in under the cake to catch anything else that fell and was hoping for the best.

The best came later when smoke continued to pour out of the top of the oven through that little vent in the back stove eye. I opened the kitchen window and turned on the ceiling fans in other parts of the house. The boys asked how they were supposed to sleep with that weird smell in the house. *guilty*

I was tempted to take the cake out of the oven and let the oven stuff burn off, but I knew it would ruin the cake. I was also concerned with the smoke ruining the cake, but I knew that taking it out of the oven would FOR SURE ruin it. And I knew it wasn't what was burning and creating the smoke, so I just left it.

I called my friend whose house we are eating dinner at tomorrow and told her that my pumpkin cheesecake would be really special because unlike the recipe, mine would be infused with a smokey flavor. She laughed at me and actually allowed me to laugh at myself. And then she said, bring it anyway, I'm sure it will be fine.

But, today, as I think about it, I'm not sure it will be fine. I'm really wondering how it tastes. And I'm really trying to decide if there is any way to taste test a cheesecake and smush it all back together so it looks like a piece has never been cut from it. ;)

Next on the list..... cooking a whole turkey for the first time ever. In the past, I've always just cooked turkey breasts. So, this is a year of firsts. Hopefully it won't turn into me scrubbing the oven at midnight again.

Maybe I should take the batteries out of the smoke detector today just in case. ;)


  1. Poor Gwen! Next time (assuming there will be a next time) put foil around the bottom of the pan. And take a bite out of the middle to see if it it tastes okay and then cover with whipped cream. No one will ever know ;-)

  2. Awwww!!! I have had many similar kitchen mishaps. I am trying to forget them all ;)

    I would taste it ;)

    Everyone will understand why there's a piece missin'! ;)

  3. OK, I don't think it was water. I'm guessing it was butter from the graham cracker crust. Unfortunately, this happens to us every time we make a cheesecake (which is about once a year LOL). Perhaps it's because we bought a cheap springform pan? Not sure. We've tried wrapping it in foil, but the butter still manages to get out! That burning smell will continue for the next few days you try to use your oven, until the butter is burnt off (even after we used oven cleaner, the burning butter still smoked!). We are making cheesecake tonight for T-day, and we are very worried about the pan leaking again. Like I said, it's done it every time (at least twice in our oven, and once in my mil's oven even though it was wrapped tightly with foil). The good news is, the cheesecake never tastes like smoke. It's so good that our family has requested we make it every year ;)

    BTW, if anyone tell you the secret to keep the pan from leaking, PLEASE let me know! :)

  4. did it turn out?

    I avoid springform pans and angel food pans for that very reason...we don't get along and things always drip out. I discovered the hard way NEVER MAKE MONKEY BREAD in an ANGEL FOOD PAN with REMOVABLE BOTTOM...yeah. You had smoke...I had FIRE!

    Hope it was good.


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