Monday, November 10, 2014

Cheesecake

 


 When thinking about cheesecake, the phrase "mother knows best" comes to my mind. My mother is a terribly funny lady. One of the best things my mother knows and loves to share with me is a theory about a beloved dessert. She does not work for any medical association or have any medical practice, but she is certain that cheesecake will settle your stomach. 

Seriously.

Have you had a very large meal? You must need just a few bites of cheesecake. The very last thing you would expect to settle your stomach would be a large and fatty brick of dairy. 

I am not sure if I have heard and practiced the theory too often, but I must say that cheesecake does make a tummy happy, even if you think you couldn't swallow another bite.

This cheesecake is the perfect recipe to test the theory out for yourself. It is creamy and very rich, just like a cheesecake should be. I really do love plain cheesecake, but this is delicious served with some fruit or chocolate sauce.

Ingredients

1 sleeve of graham crackers
1/4 cup white sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
4 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream



First, crush the graham crackers in a well sealed plastic bag until the crumbs are like pieces of wet sand. I like to use a rolling pin for this. Crush the crackers, but don't be too violent about it. The goal is to have your crumbs fully crushed before the bag rips. Thankfully mine were ready at about the breaking point.


Combine the graham crackers with the melted butter and sugar. 
 

In a large spring form pan, sprinkle about 1/3 of the crumbs over the bottom. Press this gently into the pan to form the crust.
 

Tilt the pan onto its side and sprinkle a small handful of the crumbs.Then press these gently into the side of the pan. This is probably the hardest part of the cheesecake.Just make sure you have an even layer and keep pressing gently. 


Work your way all around the edge of the pan until the crust is completed. Make sure there aren't gaps in the crust, otherwise the filling goes places it shouldn't. 

Bake the crust at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. This gives it a nice golden color and sets up for the filling. 


While the crust is baking, combine the remaining ingredients one by one. Mix these very will with an upright mixer or a hand held one. This will give the mixture a chance to work some air into the cheesecake. This may seem odd, but the sound of cheesecake filling being mixed is one of my favorites. Listen to it for a second. Doesn't it just sound nice? Once all the ingredients are added together, mix on high for at least one minute.

 
Take the beautifully browned crust out of the oven.


Pour the delightful filling into the center. If your filling goes above the crust, it's not really a problem.


This is a good time to talk about a water bath for your cheesecake. Many people cry over a split or cracked cheesecake. Using a water bath helps prevent this from happening. However, it does increase and almost promise water seeping into the pan. Ew.

I do not care to use a water bath. If the cheesecake cracks, put some sauce on it to cover it up. I have bathed my cheesecakes in water before only to find the water had ruined the crust. Not to mention, it was still cracked on the top. Grrr!



 Bake the cheesecake in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes. After an hour and a half, turn off the oven and open the door like this. This method helps the cheesecake cool slowly. Let it sit here for about an hour


Let the cheesecake cool completely after you take it out of the oven. 


After the cheesecake has cooled, cover it and refrigerate it for at least 4 to 6 hours. This is such an easy and delicious dessert even if it doesn't really settle your stomach. 


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