Yum. I'm eating a slice of cheesecake (and yes, I'm aware that it is 11 am) made yesterday and chilled for the alloted number of hours. I have to say, not a bad job, chef Lisa! Can you believe I'm from NY and have never made a cheese cake until now? What inspired me to do so was a chapter in Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires. It was the first of many of her own recipes that she added to the book and one of the first I decided to try! Recipe and pictures below.
1½ cups graham-cracker crumbs (about 6 ounces)
1 cup sugar
½ cup melted unsalted butter
1½ lb. cream cheese, preferably without gum, at room temperature
3 tsp. vanilla extract
~ Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the graham crackers with ¼ cup of the sugar and the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch ungreased springform pan. Chill while preparing the filling.
3. Beat the cream cheese, ½ cup of the sugar, the eggs, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract, and the lemon zest until smooth.
4. Pour into the chilled crust and bake 50 minutes to an hour, or until the cheese is set and starting to turn golden in spots. Remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.
5. Stir together the sour cream, remaining ¼ cup of sugar, and remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread over the cooled cake, then return to the oven for 12 minutes or until glossy and set.
6. Cool completely, cover, and chill at least 8 hours
This content is taken from Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires:
Some notes on the cheesecake: I found her suggestion of using cream cheese "preferably without gum" intrigueing and set out to find such a thing. She is referring to stabilizers such as carob bean gum and locust bean gum. Every cream cheese at Ralphs from the generic Ralph's brand to the Horizon organic no rBGH cream cheese had some form of "gum" in it. So I'd love to know where she finds such a thing (makes it herself? Goes to Whole Foods?). I'm also curious whether that changes the texture of the cheesecake.
Also, i substituted 8 ounces of neufchatel cheese (low fat cream cheese) for regular cream cheese and 8 ounces of low fat (NOT FAT FREE) sour cream for regular sour cream just so I wouldn't feel SO guilty about eating a piece or two. I found that the flavors and textures were really good so I don't think this changed much other than fat and calorie count.
Finally, during the first cooking process - my cheesecake went from this:
to this after cooling:
And I was very happy with the result!
Next time I make a cheese cake I will likely cook using a water bath so that I limit the chances of my cake cracking.
Do you have a favorite cheesecake recipe? Have you made the Italian style with Ricotta? Which do you prefer?
Chow for now! :)