Merry Christmas! & Homemade Cheesecake
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family! I’m going to skip a few posts about places I’ve eaten since it is time-appropriate and it’s one of those rare home baking posts. Ooooh… I can bake.
I got this recipe that I gotten from Ina Garten’s book, Barefoot Contessa Family Style and watching her show on the Food Network that made me drool when I saw the finished product. Since my mom saw that show too, she wanted my to make it and got all the ingredients for me and assigned me this task (and consume it by Christmas Eve) to recreate that cheesecake since I’m the only baker in the house.
The good thing is that my best friend, Kim gave me a stand mixer to do the most of the labor last Christmas. So, I won’t be screaming in pain and ask the men in my family to help me out creaming two-and-a-half pounds of cream cheese with a spatula. That would be hell.
But since I left all the ingredients at room temperature, everything was fairly easy. Pour the thick, rich batter into the pre-baked graham cracker crust for a total of an hour-and-a-half (including the temperature change) and your set. Just leave in the oven (with its door open) until it cools and refrigerate.
Since my mom doesn’t like the idea of having a sauce with her cheesecake, she just wanted me to top it with just plain raspberries. No added sugar and no additional moisture. Though the raspberries don’t look shiny in the photos, at least they add a wonderful burst of color and flavor to the cake.
So, I hope you might be motivated to bake this luscious cheesecake. You will be a very happy person when you taste the results.
Adapted from Ina Garten
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
3 half-pints fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Lower the oven temperature to 225 degrees F.
To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.
Turn the oven temperature up to 250 degrees F and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.
To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Note: Measure your springform pan. The bottom of mine measures 9 inches, but it says 9 1/2. I put the springform pan on a sheet pan before putting it in the oven to catch any leaks.