Basic Cheesecake

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but do have an affinity for cheesecake. My grandmother used to make it and top with strawberries or cherries. It was always a special treat and I never thought that I could actually make one.

About a year ago I purchased a food processor and the manual included some recipes. One was for cheesecake and I had a flashback to my youth, so I tried it. The food processor has changed the way I cook. If you don’t have one and like to cook you should make the investment. It opened up a new world for me.

This recipe is for a small cheesecake and if you were taking it to share you may want to try a 2 lb version. There are plenty of beautiful recipes available in books and online. I am just trying to expand minds to make your own.

Ingredients:

  • 3 honey graham crackers, broken into pieces (lowfat if you can find)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound (2 packages, 8 oz.) lowfat cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp

Optional:

  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream
  • lemon zest and 1 tablespoon juice

Tools:

  • God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Also you will need an oven, spring form pan and a pan lager than the spring form pan, food processor or heavy whisk or hand held mixer (one of the last 3). If you don’t have a spring form pan just use a regular pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Wrap the bottom of a 7 x 3-inch springform pan with oversized aluminum foil. You want it water tight, cut off any excess foil at the top.

Make the crust: In the food processor add the graham crackers, sugar and butter. Process until the butter can no longer be seen and press into the bottom of your pan.

Next up the filling: Wipe out the processor bowl and process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla and process for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the processor and with it running add 1 egg for about 5 seconds. Then add the second egg, process for about 5 seconds longer.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Place in a roasting pan and set on the rack of the oven. Carefully add hot water to the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the side of the cheesecake. This is called a “bain marie” or water bath. Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes.

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Remove the cheesecake from the bain marie, and remove the foil then place on a rack. Cool completely, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

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I had some cracks (forgot my oven temp has been recalibrated 30 degrees up for cooking pizza) and some water had gotten into my crust. Being a perfectionist I was not happy but don’t worry just keep moving on.

To cover the cracks I made a simple topping out of a jar of cherries. To make this short: Drain a jar of cherries (6 oz.) add the juice to a pan with 3 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon corn starch, a shot of red wine and reduce for 5 minutes. Add back the cherries and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and let cool.

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This is not enough cherries to cover the whole cheesecake so I made a ring (circle the wagons) and spread the glaze. Again I am working with what I have on hand.

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If anyone is still reading at this point you get a star.

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