I will be the first to admit that cheesecake *wasn’t one of my favorite desserts before I created this recipe and wrote this post today. I studied a few recipes and noticed why I didn’t really care for some of the cheesecakes I’ve had in the past. Some were too dense, others too egg-y tasting and most were even a little too sweet for this girl. I switched some of the more common ‘tested’ recipes to accommodate my tastes, my 9″ springform pan and the size and height of cheesecake I wanted. Today I’ll tell you that cheesecake is the unsung hero in my kitchen. The perfect crust, luxuriously light texture, creaminess, slight tang from the sour cream and subtle hint of vanilla make this recipe a slam-dunk, game over, I’ll never search for another cheesecake recipe again.
In other news, we’re setting up the barn and moving some pigs around today. It has been a big day and we’re running on fumes. Last night (technically wee morning) our fire alarm system went haywire and we ended up going to my folks’ house to stay the remainder of the night. (At 2:30 a.m.) The kids both did quite well and had a ball playing at Grandma’s all day.
I’ll be practicing my pork burger tonight… I am doing it all on the grill in warm weather. Score!
I’m running out of time! I have step by step photos for this recipe and will be adding them ASAP! Stop back by if you need to see them, but this recipe is pretty cinchy.
By Cristen www.foodandswine.com
For the crust:
12 graham crackers (one package), broken into pieces
2 TBSP sugar
6 TBSP butter, melted
Brush the sides of a 9” springform pan with butter. Process graham crackers in food processor until fine crumbs. Add sugar and butter. Pulse 10 times. Pat crust mixture in springform pan evenly, and up the sides a bit if desired. Bake crust in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 12-14 minutes until golden and fragrant. Remove from oven, set aside.
For the filling:
32 oz regular cream cheese (4 blocks)
1 ½ C granulated sugar
4 whole eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/2 C sour cream
Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream. Mix well 1 minute. Pour into par-baked graham cracker crust. Place in oven on middle lower rack. Place a pie plate next to the cheesecake. Fill pie plate with 3 C water. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour, the very center will still be somewhat unset. Clear edges of cheesecake and pan with a paring knife. Return to oven with oven door propped open and let slowly cool for 1 additional hour inside of the oven. Remove and set at room temperature for 2 hours or more. Chill if desired. Serve with macerated strawberries, blueberries or blackberries or any type of pie filling you’d like.
Choose a topping:
3 C strawberries, stems removed, hulled and sliced to desired size
1/2 C sugar
In a medium sized bowl, combine strawberries and sugar about 30 minutes prior to serving cheesecake. Stir well. Let sit until serving time. Spoon strawberries on top of cheesecake slices and garnish with freshly whipped cream.
Simple Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Topping
1/2 C sugar
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Splash of vanilla
3 C blueberries, divided
In a medium sized bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub zest into sugar to release oils and ‘perfume’ the sugar. Add lemon juice and a splash of vanilla. Add ½ C blueberries and smash together. Add remaining blueberries and toss together. Let stand 30 minutes. Spoon on top of cheesecake slices and garnish with freshly whipped cream.
1 C heavy cream
2 TBSP powdered sugar
Splash of vanilla
Whip cream until soft peaks form, add sugar and vanilla, continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Makes one 9” cheesecake (roughly 12 regular sized slices or 8 large slices.)
I don’t freak out about my cheesecake splitting in the middle. This one did, slightly (maybe 1.5 inches) but I attribute it to moving the cheesecake from my springform to the cake plate before it was cool. Ooops. I had to get a picture before my light source was gone!
The pie plate in the oven with water in it will create gentle steam and keep your cheesecake moist. If you are freaky about having a crack in your cheesecake let the cooling process go extra slow and loosen the sides of the cheesecake from the sides of the pan with a paring knife after it has baked. Return to the oven, with the door open of course, to cool.
You can use many different fillings to top your cheesecakes. I use the strawberries or other uncooked fruit toppings because I like the freshness. Create whatever suits you.
Whipped cream is purely optional when garnishing. Today it seemed a little over the top and unnecessary so I went without. (Even though it would have made my photographs better. Live and learn.)