Christmas (Eve) Morning Cheesecake

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year! Joyeux Noël et bonne année! ¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo! Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo! Fröhliches Weihnachten! Vrolijk Kerstmis! 聖誕節同新年快樂 ! Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta! クリスマスと新年おめでとうございます! Wesołych Świąt! 메리 크리스마스! 새해 복 많이 받으세요! God jul och gott nytt år! Feliz Natal! Happy Hanukkah! (the last day, I believe?) and שנה טובה! And last but not least, Happy Kwanzaa! (starting on Dec. 26th)

Hopefully, I’ve written those “Merry Christmas!” sayings correctly, if I didn’t I apologize. For the curious, it started (obviously) from English then, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Finnish, Japanese, Polish, Korean (also said “happy new year”), Swedish, and Portuguese. I would write more but it’s getting redundant. Don’t you agree?

My family is not the traditional set who would have Christmas morning bread (that was last year); so my mother proposed that I will have to bake a cheesecake ready to be consumed by Christmas eve morning. I know. I live in a strange family who would have a deliriously rich dessert for breakfast. A few years ago my family trekked down to Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn for the famous Junior’s Cheesecake. We find that it even though it was delicious, the long wait and a albeit, a bit pricey to get a cheesecake the size that I’m baking was not worth the trip again.

Obliging to my mom’s orders, I started it yesterday since the cheesecake needs to be chilled a good few hours after the 1 1/2 hours of baking and two to three hours to cool off.
The mixer…I have to thank Kim (again) for this lovely mixer! It was totally unexpected of her to give me as a Christmas present. The funny thing is that she read my post (months earlier) about my whole campaign for my mom to buy me a stand mixer for years; now Kim’s giving this for me instead. I was touched that she and her significant other schlepped the huge box from Long Beach to my house in Queens. I’m getting spoiled…(and she saved my arm from a major fatigue creaming the cream cheese.)

Anyways, I’m just giving you the highlights of baking this cheesecake. My favorite part was the crust making. Do you want to know why? It’s because it great stress relief; take a look:

The poor crackers…
They’re taking abuse from me…

Sorry…I’m just frustrated (I have issues, ok?)

See what I mean? If you have anger issues that you don’t want to physically take on a person, just take it out on the graham crackers. It’s not in pain; it won’t press charges on you for assault, beating the living daylights out of them, because it’s not a person. So yeah, go ahead and whack some crackers into crumbs. You’ll feel a lot better and it’s free therapy.

Moving on…mixing the cheesecake filling.

Pouring mixed filling & the crust:

Look how thick and silky smooth that batter is…

Smooth the top with a spatula and place in the preheated oven

Baked cheesecake:

It’s taken inside the oven, hence the bad lighting

Cooled cheesecake on a cake plate:

Hungry yet?

Cheesecake with the raspberries.

Voilà! Ce n’est pas beau? (French: Isn’t it beautiful?)

It’s decadent, delicious, and luxuriously rich. Probably there should be a surgeon general’s
warning that this cheesecake is ridiculously high in saturated fats, cholesterol (the bad ones, LDL), and high in calories but
who cares? It’s the holidays, live a little. Bake a cheesecake and just have a tiny piece and slowly peck your way through the week or throw a cheesecake party and invite a few people over to enjoy this wonderful cheesecake.

Here’s the recipe…
Raspberry Cheesecake
Barefoot Contessa Family Style by 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.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 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.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 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.

If you want to see the slideshow of the process of making it, click here.

Once again, Happy Holidays! Have fun: eat, drink and be merry! Just do it in moderation.


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. Edytahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/bs-edyta/ says:

    Cheesecake looks really delicious and beautiful. And the mixer was such a good present. Have a Merry Christmas :) Wesołych Świąt

  2. hellokitty893112 says:

    edyta: Thank you! The mixer was a great present and I can’t thank my friend enough for it. Merry Christmas to you, too! :)

    alicat: Thanks as well! I love the cheesecake, too; but for the next few days I’m paying for the consequences on the treadmill.

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