I have a friend who is a bit averse to baking/cooking and she made her first cheesecake earlier this Fall for her son's birthday. In the middle of the process, Donna called me, panicked that she was doing something wrong. I coached her through how long it should be in the oven, what it should look like and all that. I never heard back from her on how it turned out. I was afraid to ask. But then, what a relief when she did finally share with me that the cheesecake was, in fact, a success! I was so happy for her and her personal achievement.
I decided I would like to share with you my cheesecake recipe. I have many cheesecake recipes in my library of cookbooks. Many are complicated with multiple steps and intricate instructions. This is my simplest, most straight-forward recipe. Plain and simple cheesecake that you may either adorn with a fruit topping, a little chocolate or caramel sauce or eat it au naturale. Naked. Stripped down. Bare. Your choice.
CheesecakeHere's What You Need:
2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2, 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
16 ounces sour cream
Here's What You Do:
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix all of the crust ingredients and press into a lightly greased springform pan. Be sure to press some of the crumb crust up the sides of the pan about 1-2 inches. Pop this in the fridge.
Beat the cream cheese on low for 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar and beat until creamy. About 1 more minute. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and then blend in the sour cream. Do not over-beat - it will cause your cheesecake to have huge, gaping cracks in the top. Then you will be forced to put a topping on it to cover it up! Pour the filling in the crust and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Here's where Donna was a bit troubled and I assured her, it's easy to think something's not right. The timer goes off and then some of you might be thinking, "There is no way this thing is done as jiggly as it is!" Trust me. It's done. Don't leave it in the oven any longer. You'll end up with a very dry cheesecake that is browned on the top. And then you'll REALLY have to cover it up with topping! Cheesecake is not meant to be browned on the top...unless it's a pumpkin or chocolate cheesecake, of course!!!
Remove the cheesecake, very carefully, from the oven and let it sit on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Now, clear out a shelf on your refrigerator and place the cheesecake in there, uncovered, for no less than 4 hours before serving.
And there you have it. Cheesecake!