Friday, February 24, 2012

Simply Delicious Cheesecake

After having all four of his wisdom teeth pulled, my son had one request - cheesecake. I promised him I'd make him one. That was seven months ago. Poor neglected guy. At least I am not posting the picture I took of him in the recovery room, so I do have some feelings for the lad.

Last week, a client asked me to make a gluten-free cheesecake. After successfully doing that, I whipped up a traditional cheesecake for my family - it's simple and straightforward, and like most recipes that are simple and straightforward, it's quite delicious.

The recipe is based one I found in Fine Cooking, and is pretty fool-proof. The only hard part was lugging out the food processor to chop the graham crackers and then the Kitchen Aid mixer to mix the filling. So you actually get a workout while making the cake, which completely justifies the eating of the cake later. :) Enjoy.

Simply Delicious Cheesecake

Makes one, 9-inch cheesecake

8 ounces of graham crackers, finely crushed
3 T. sugar
5 T. melted butter
3 8-ounce packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 T. flour
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Position rack in center of oven and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and 3 T. sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to the springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (I wore a disposable plastic glove to do this). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.

To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

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