Are you afraid of cheesecake? You needn’t be. You can do this. And I’m here to walk you through it – just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Here’s the deal. Cheesecake can be divided into two categories: baked and unbaked. Let me be clear. Unbaked is by far inferior in every possible way and it should not be called by the same name as the scrumptiousness that is a baked cheesecake. If you try to argue with me, I will turn a deaf ear. If you send me your favourite unbaked cheesecake recipe, I will not read it, much less make it. If you make me an unbaked cheesecake, I will begrudgingly taste it, but please don’t take it personally when I tell you it’s still unworthy of the name.
The recipe that I’m about to share with you is the best for several reasons.
- It only requires two blocks of cream cheese (as opposed to the three or four that other recipes call for, making it much easier on the grocery budget)
- It has an extra layer that you add near the end of the baking time, thereby covering any cracks that sometimes appear when the cheesecake is a bit overbaked. No one will ever know!
- It has been tried and tested at various altitudes (remember our cheesecake making party, my dear Addis Ababa friends?) and with all kinds of cream cheese (regular, light, organic etc.) and it’s always delectable.
Are you ready? Here’s what you need:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (also works nicely with Oreo crumbs)
3 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP butter or margarine, melted
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
½ cup white sugar
1 TBSP lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs, separated
1 cup sour cream
2 TBSP white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Combine first three ingredients and press evenly onto bottom of a springform pan (8.5”, 9” or 9.5”). Bake at 325 degrees for ten minutes. There’s the crust. Easy.
Meanwhile, combine cream cheese, ½ cup of sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and mix at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
In separate bowl, beat egg whites (with clean beaters!) until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture and mix well. Pour over baked crust.
Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. That wasn’t so hard now, was it?
Mix the remaining three ingredients and spread evenly on top of cheesecake. Bake an additional ten minutes. And ta-da!
After you take the cheesecake out of the oven, you should run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the side of the pan. Allow it to cool to room temperature and then chill. Yeah, that’s right. It’s done. You can chill!
Garnish with any combination of fresh berries, coulis, chocolate or caramel sauce, chocolate shavings or filigrees, and whipped cream.
Enjoy! And don’t ask me about freezing leftovers. I wouldn’t know.