Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Food: Cheesecake

A quick story about cheesecake.

When I was a freshman in college, I lived on a dorm that had 'study breaks', Tuesday night snack fests for everyone on the hall.

My roommates and I made cheesecake for our study break -- four of them. Our hallmates ate a two and a half of the cheesecakes, and then my roomie Karen went in search of a friend of hers to share the remaining pies. "Don't eat the cheesecake," she instructed me and Stephanie.

Well, Karen was gone a long time. A really long time. The cheesecake beckoned. Our will was weak.

Karen returned, with her friend Stephen, about an hour later. She found me and Stephanie, laying in the dark, moaning in discomfort as we had between us eaten the remaining cheesecake and a half. And I'd do it again tomorrow. That's how much I love cheesecake.

And it's why I particularly love the Friends episode, the one with the cheesecake. You know, the one where Rachel and Chandler end up eating cheesecake off the floor in the hall between their apartments. Get me a fork!

Nothing fancy in this cheesecake recipe. It's adapted from "Loaves and Dishes", a church cookbook from the 1980's (St. David's Episcopal Church in Washington DC).


3 packages of cream cheese (8 oz each)
3 tsp vanilla (2 tsp, 1 tsp)
1 cup sugar (3/4 cup, 1/4 cup)
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

This works best if ingredients, especially the cream cheese, are at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350. With electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Extra points if you manage to keep the cream cheese off the ceiling. Add 2 tsp vanilla and blend. Add 3/4 cup sugar and blend. Add eggs and blend until just smooth. Not much more, though, because overbeating eggs makes the cheesecake tough.

Pour into 9 inch spring pan with a graham cracker crust (see below). Bake for 50-55 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes.

Raise oven temperature to 450. Mix 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar. Spread on top of cheesecake, after the cake has cooled for 15 minutes. Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes.

Remove and cool.

Optional items: Graham cracker crust and raspberry sauce

Graham cracker crust

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, very finely crumbled
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Mix graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar well. Add melted butter and mix. Press dough evenly in the bottom of a 9 inch spring pan, maybe using a folded up piece of wax paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool before filling.

Raspberry sauce

1 bag frozen raspberries
1 T sugar

In a saucepan, cook the raspberries and sugar over medium heat until you have a syrupy, chunky sauce. Use to drizzle on top of the cheesecake, or decorate the plate.

1 comment:

will monahan said...

I remember that raspberry sauce. I've used it a couple of times. It's very good on ice cream.