Pros: Surprisingly nonstick; durable and sturdy; no-drip lip; good sizes; good thermal properties
Rating: 5 out of 5
First published 12/5/2005
Ah, cheesecake. I had never been a big fan until my husband convinced me to give it a chance, and gradually I became hooked. As soon as we started making our own I was sold–it’s so easy to make sure you get exactly the flavor and texture and type of cheesecake you most love. Many people see cheesecake-baking as a frightening art second only to souffle-baking in its mysteriousness and perils. However, with the right pan it’s incredibly easy. For me, the Kaiser La Forme springform pan is that pan.
I have both 9″ and 10″ sizes of this pan, and I use them both (depends on the recipe–there are some big cheesecakes out there!). There are enough recipes out there for both sizes that it’s a good idea to have one pan of each. There are relatively few recipes for 8″ and 11″ pans, so I don’t tend to worry about keeping those sizes around. The only other size of pan it can be fun to have is the mini-cheesecake pan, and I have to admit I’d probably make a lot more mini-cheesecakes if the mini pans I had were also from Kaiser’s La Forme line.
Why does the pan make such a difference? Well, there are several things about cooking cheesecake that can get tricky. One is the distribution of heat. You really need your cheesecake to cook evenly if you want to end up with something that isn’t too dry around the edges and smushy in the middle. The Kaiser La Forme pans are heavy-gauge steel that distributes heat evenly.
Another potential problem is dripping. Past springform pans that I’ve owned have resulted in smoke alarms going off because butter from the crust of something I was baking leaked out from around the attached side and over the edge of the bottom. This is extremely unlikely to happen with a Kaiser La Forme pan. Not only is the fit particularly good so as to avoid leakage in the first place, but there’s a lip around the edge that will also catch any drips and help to keep them from going overboard onto the floor of the oven. I no longer have to put a cookie sheet underneath my cheesecakes or wrap the bottom of the pan in tinfoil.
Still another problem is releasing the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan. Many traditional pans are too delicate for cutting directly on top of them, yet it’s next to impossible to get a cheesecake off of its base intact; the Kaiser La Forme pans have a cut-resistant base. I still try not to bear down too hard on them because I hate the idea of damaging them, but I use metal knives on them without a problem. This makes it easy to cut and serve your cheesecake straight from the pan bottom (which is fairly attractive and, because of that lip, easy to hold onto when serving). Also, as long as you use a thin layer of butter to grease the pan before filling, the cheesecake will come up fairly easily. I’ve had pans where you had to scrape the darn thing off and this just isn’t a problem with the Kaiser La Forme pans.
All in all I love my Kaiser La Forme springform pans, and although I only use them a few times a year, I wouldn’t give up their cherished spot in my cupboards.