Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blue Ribbon Cheesecake

This recipe also comes from the cookbook 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes. I made it for the first time for our New Years party, but any of the recipes I've made from this cookbook have all been delicious.

1 1/4 C graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C unsalted butter, melted

4 packages (each 8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

I don't recommend using light cream cheese for this recipe, unless perhaps you're just making it for yourself at home. And even then, I'd recommend just freezing it and eating it less often rather than using light cream cheese.

Crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze (for a gluten-free version, just omit the crust altogether).

Filling: In a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour over frozen crust. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the top is light brown and the centre has a slight jiggle to it. Cool on the counter for 10 minutes (do not turn the oven off). The cake will sink slightly.

Topping: In a small bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into centre or cooled cake and spread out to edges. Bake for 5 minutes more. Cool on a rack for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before decorating.

Decoration: Top with sliced strawberries when completely chilled.

As strawberries were no longer in season, I defrosted some that we had picked over the summer, crushed them and added them to the top of the cheesecake (without adding any more sugar).

Some tips that I've just learned to avoid having your cheesecake crack:

- allow all ingredients to come to room temperature before using
- incorporate one egg at a time
- make sure oven is preheated
- remove the cheesecake from the oven while the centre still jiggles

Good luck! Though this is super easy to make and also freezes well.

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