Most everyone loves dessert, there are a few random souls that do not, but the majority of us enjoy a little sweetness after a savory meal. Desserts vary and this month, on Tasty Thursdays, I will be sharing a dessert recipe with you. Today is Cheesecake. This is a basic cheesecake, that you can certainly alter to your tastes with the toppings of your choice. You will find this to be a very light, fluffy, cheesecake as opposed denser versions.
- Crust –
- 1 3/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs
- 3 Tbsp. of sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted.
- Filling –
- 2 lbs, (4 8oz. packages) cream cheese at room temperature.
- 1 1/3 cups of sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups of sour cream, or heavy cream, or a combination of the two.
- Butter a 9 inch springform pan – choose one that has sides that are 2 ¾-inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter left over) – and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.
- Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use the bottom of a cup measuring cup to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach slightly above or below the midway point on the sides.
- Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350° F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.
- Cheesecake batter
- Put a kettle of water on to boil. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan into a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at a medium speed until soft and creamy; about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition – you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
- Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the rim of the pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, at which point the top should be lightly browned and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. It should jiggle slightly when you wiggle the pan. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
- After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster – be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
- When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; overnight is better.
- At serving time, run thin, hot knife around the interior edge of the pan and remove the sides of the springform pan. Set the cake on a serving platter, slice, and serve.
Depending on your tastes you can easily put your favorite toppings, chocolate, fruit, whipped cream on top. This is a family favorite and we have it every year at Easter. I hope you all enjoy it and please share your flavor combinations that you enjoy.