Paul’s Favorite Cheesecake
I mentioned that I made a cheesecake on Monday when we entertained my husband’s colleague from Seattle (who brought us a bottle of Syrah and smoked salmon — YUM!) and Stephanie asked if I had a recipe to share. Well, you betcha I do! This recipe came from the home of a lady I babysat for back in college. When the kids were asleep one night, I started perusing her recipe books, and I copied this cheesecake recipe. I have no idea why it caught my eye, but it did.
Sometime after that, I have no recollection when it was, I made this cheesecake for my husband because he hearts the cheesecake, and it was a hit. Every since, it has been his very favorite of all my desserts (with the POSSIBLE exception of the Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa container — you MUST make that sometime.) I often make this cheesecake for company because it’s so easy and yet people are always impressed.
The only disclaimer I must make about this recipe is that somehow, over the years, I lost the exact cooking temperature and time. And as many times as I have made it, I’ve never paid attention to what I do to make a record of it. But somehow it always turns out okay.
First collect your ingredients.
You start by making the crust. That starts with graham crackers.
Put ’em in a zipper baggie and start smashing. It’s great for getting any pent-up aggression out. It’s also a great job to pawn off on the little people.
Meanwhile, measure out 1/3 cup butter for melting.
I love my Iron Melting Pot for this.
Now, pour the crumbs into a measuring cup. Add the butter, sugar and blend.
Press this into a pie plate or springform pan. I LOVE MY SPRINGFORM PAN. Makes life (and cheesecake) so much easier.
Press it all down flat. Like so.
DON’T BAKE. Set it aside. Or, if you cheated and bought your crust, you can start here.
These are your cheesecake ingredients.
Ideally eggs and cream cheese will be room temp. I like to leave mine out overnight.
Have a cute little helper crack your eggs. (You’ll need two.)
It takes a high level of skill and concentration.
Then add the remaining ingredients and mix.
And pour into the pan. Simple. As. THAT.
Bake at 325 for ABOUT 50 minutes, give or take, um, 10. I forgot AGAIN to keep track of time. I KNOW. I’m a loser.
It should look about like this.
Set it in the fridge and let it cool for several hours, eight or more is ideal.
Make the topping with sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread on top.
Serve with a berry sauce, if desired.
- 1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3T sugar
- 1/3 cup butter
- 16 oz cream cheese (room temperature — leave out overnight for best results)
- 2 eggs (also room temp — leave out overnight)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp real vanilla (Use real vanilla. It matters.)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp real vanilla
- Mix together graham cracker crumbs, 3 T sugar and 1/3 cup butter. Press into springform pan or pie plate. Do not bake.
- In a separate bowl, blend 16 oz cream cheese, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. Beat until light and fluffy. Bake at 325 degrees until the top is lightly browned and it looks cooked. I KNOW. Do your best. It’s somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes. When it’s lightly browned on top, remove from the oven and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
- Combine 1 cup sour cream, 2 Tbsp sugar, and 2 tsp vanilla in a small bowl. Spread on top of the cheesecake. Serve plain or with a homemade berry sauce.
- For a berry sauce, take a small package of frozen blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries (or a mixture) and put them on the stove with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water and simmered/boiled for about 5 minutes. Then put it in the food processor, pulsed a few times, (I’m sure you can use a blender, if that’s what you have) and strain it in a mesh strainer to get the seeds out.