It is so hard to beat a good, homemade cheesecake! This one is definitely a winner in our house; however, due to the massive fat content I don't make it very often... good in small doses :) This is just for a plain cheesecake. Feel free to dress it up with whatever you like. Some suggestions - fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, chocolate shavings, sliced banana, or chopped nuts. I also like to make this special 4th of July cake - basic cheesecake base baked in a rectangle pan. Top it with whipped cream then use sliced strawberries and blueberries to create a replica of the US flag. It turns out so cute and always gets rave reviews. My parents make it but they use the fruit to make a replica of the Union Jack... lol ;) They are so bad!
This will make 12-16 servings.
1 3/4 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (since they are going in the crust, I highly recommend using a food processor or coffee grinder to chop them!) These are optional so if you have an allergy or don't like nuts, leave them out
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened (you can use low- or non-fat to make this a little better for you)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel (totally optional, I always like to throw it in)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees*
1. For crust, combine crushed graham crackers, walnuts, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan (springforms are your friend! They make it so easy to remove the cooked cake). Set pan aside.
2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, and if desired, lemon peel with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer (use paddle attachment) until combined. Add eggs and egg yolk all at once, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in milk.
3. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place on a shallow baking pan in oven. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes for the 8-inch pan or 35-40 for the 9-inch pan, or until center appears nearly set when shaken.
4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the crust from sides of pan and cool 30 minutes more. Remove the sides of the pan; cool cheesecake completely. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.
Original recipe came from:
Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen (1996). Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Meredith Publishing Group: Des Moines, IA.