Sunday, June 20, 2010

Classic Cheesecake


We've decided to make it a tradition to make cheesecake for Father's Day, because it is one of my husband's favorite desserts. It also happens to be my brother-in-law, Darin's, favorite too. I'm not sure that this one is their favorite, but it was still a hit. I don't think it was as good as the one we made last year, but I couldn't find the recipe I used last year either, so we made due. My 12 yr. old daughter did most of the work with a lot of "Mom" supervision.

Anyway, here's the recipe we used:

Plain Cheesecake Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by wrapping the bottom with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray the pan with non-stick spray. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, two tablespoons of sugar, and the cooled butter and press firmly into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Place the prepared spring form pan into an oven-proof pan that it can fit into and is deep enough to use as a water bath. Set aside.

I didn't make my crusts, I just purchased pre-made ones. Honestly I think the homemade ones are better!

Plain Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened (we used light cream cheese)3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (we used "Real Lemon", not fresh squeezed)
Our eggs & heavy cream were not at room temperature, we just put them in because we were in a hurry. This is probably why the cake didn't turn out as fluffy & thick. Oh well, it was still good!

With an electric mixer on medium (we used my Bosch mixer on speed 2), beat the cream cheese for several minutes and then add the cup of sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and creamy. Make sure all of the cream cheese is well beaten. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (My daughter accidently put all 3 eggs in at the same time, I'm not really sure what difference it makes, but it still worked).

Stir the lemon juice and vanilla into the heavy cream until well blended. (may be a little lumpy).
Add the cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture and mix well at medium speed. Scrape down the sides and beaters periodically so that the mixture is smooth.
We didn't do the following the way the recipe called. I don't have a springform pan, so we put ours in the pie pans that the crust came in & then placed them on a cookie sheet. It worked great. I baked them for 45 min. on 375 degrees (I increased the degrees because of the way my oven bakes).
This is what the recipe said to do:
Place the spring form pan inside the other pan and fill the outer pan with enough hot water to put it halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. (make sure the foil is securely around the pan so it doesn't allow water to get into the cheesecake). Place the two (2) pans into the oven on the middle rack.
Bake about 45 minutes or until it is golden brown and the edges are firm to about 1 inch in on the pan.
Turn off the oven and open the door slightly but leave the cheesecake in the two pans inside the oven until they are cool enough to touch. After cooling to this point, it should be firmer and no longer jiggle when moved.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack after running a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake (but do not remove the rim yet). After cool, chill in the refrigerator at least four hours. Remove rim of the pan before serving.

Because we were in a hurry we let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes & then put them in the freezer for awhile to cool quickly. Then we added fresh strawberries & "light" whip cream! Yum!

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