Okay, so remember a million years ago when I said cheesecake was in the queue? And then I tried to tide us all over with raspberry cheesecake ice cream, which was great, but was not what I was dreaming of. Well here we finally are. And what a wonderful place it is.
Adapted from about 4 recipes
This was my first cheesecake and I was really happy with it. I served it with a strawberry coulis, but you could use any berry sauce, chocolate or caramel, fresh fruit, or just leave it as is. Really, this cake doesn’t need anything on top to make it fabulous. Also, you can freeze it!
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground (or smashed) graham cracker crumbs
4 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I like to make the crust right in the pan. In a standard springform pan, mix all ingredients until the mixture is evenly moistened. I think a fork works well for this. Press the crumbs onto the bottom surface of the pan until you have a nice even coating, then push the remaining crumbs up the sides of the pan about 2 inches high. Bake the crust for about ten minutes, then remove and cool.
For the Cheesecake:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
Before you begin all your ingredients should for real be at room temperature. For real. This is the best, most reliable way to avoid lumps in the cake.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl and the beaters after adding each egg. Scrape down everything very thoroughly. This is the time to avoid lumps. After the eggs, add in the vanilla and sugar and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated and smooth, continuing to scrape the bowl and beaters every so often. Pour the batter into the prebaked crust, but only scrape the batter from the sides of the bowl into the pan if you’re sure you won’t be adding lumps. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet (in case there are drips) and place into an oven that’s been preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the sides of the cake about four inches in are puffed and set, but the center still wobbles when you gently shake the pan. Leave the oven on, but remove the pan to a cooling rack and set aside for 15 minutes.
For the Topping:
16 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
As the cake is cooling for 15 minutes, mix all the topping ingredients together in a medium bowl. After 15 minutes have passed, place dollops of the topping all over the surface of the cake. Use a spatula or knife to smooth the topping over the whole cake. Return the cake to the oven for 15 more minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack, then remove the sides of the springform pan, cover the cake, and place it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours. Run your knife under hot water before cutting the cake and in between slices for nice, clean cuts.
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries, stems removed
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (to taste)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Press through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Add more sugar or lemon juice as you see fit. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to a week.