I’ve made cheesecake before. And actually I love the recipe I usually use; it is from my great aunt and I have a lot of good family memories associated with it. However, it is buried in one of my recipe boxes and I was in a bit of a hurry. I’ve never used the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, so I thought I’d try it out. It was really, really good. The texture was fantastic. It originally didn’t have a sour cream topping, so I made my own right before serving. It really functioned more as an icing and provided a nice contrast to the denser cheesecake. I served macerated strawberries alongside, although it was lovely plain and I’m sure pretty much any other fruit would be really tasty, too.
–from The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
- 1 1/4 c. crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts (I omitted)
- 1 T. sugar
- 1/2 t. cinnamon (I omitted)
- 1/2 c. butter (I only ended up using about 1/4 c.)
- 3 8oz packages cream cheese (I used two Neufchatel and one regular)
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 T. all-purpose flour
- 1 t. vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1/2 t. lemon zest (I used zest from a whole lemon)
- Preheat oven to 375 F. For crust, in a bowl combine crushed graham crackers, walnuts, the 1 T. sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of an 8 or 9 inch springform pan; set aside.
- For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, the 1 cup sugar, the flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in milk until smooth. Stir in eggs and, if desired, lemon peel.
- Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place pan in shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes for the 8-inch pan, 35-40 minutes for the 9-inch pan, or until a 2.5 inch area around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen the crust from pan sides; cool for 30 minutes. Remove sides of pan; cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hour before serving.
I didn’t use the walnuts or cinnamon in the crust, nor did I add extra graham crumbs to make up the difference. I prefer that the crust of a cheesecake be mostly on the bottom. I didn’t use as much butter either, and it was still plenty buttery and rich.
My cheesecake cracked, which is not a big deal, but then I decided I wanted to cover it up before serving it at bookclub. I also really like the tang that a sour cream topping adds and how it lightens up what is really a very rich dish. Since my cheesecake had already cooled by the time I made this decision, I decided to make more of an icing, I guess. I used about 1 cup of sour cream, powdered sugar and a little vanilla. Stirred until combined and then spread on top of the cheesecake. It never totally firmed up, but that was actually also a nice contrast, too.
I used the zest of a whole lemon rather than just 1/2 t. It gave the cheesecake wonderful flavor that contrasted really nicely with the strawberries that were served alongside.