Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Apologies to anyone who might be reading this, 'cause how the heck did I not post this one sooner? The holidays, I suppose. I made this for Christmas, and I guess I got caught up in the post-holiday hustle and bustle and forgot to write about it.
At least it was worth waiting for, 'cause this is one awesome cheesecake. I'd never made a cheesecake before, so I was a bit nervous that it would come out horrible, but it did not, not at all. In fact, it earned raves from my dad, and he's notoriously picky.
The only thing I have to say about this is that you'll probably burn it a bit. I did. My oven only went up to 500, and the recipe said to start it at 550, so I figured that I didn't really need to check on it until 12 minutes had passed, especially since the oven I was using is very accurate. Despite all of that, it burned a bit anyway. But I cut off some of the top parts where it was dark, covered the whole thing in homemade cherry topping and nobody cared a bit.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
8 ounces (about 15 sheets) of graham cracker, crushed into crumbs
8 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 8-ounce packages Philadelphia cream cheese, softened (professionals seem to recommend Philadelphia in particular, so that's what I used -- I think it's something to do with the moisture content, not sure)
1 3/4 c sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 scant tsp lemon zest
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
10 ounces cherries, pitted (frozen or fresh -- I used fresh, 'cause oddly, they were easier to find)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c water
1. Mix together crust ingredients in a bowl and press into the bottom and sides of a springform pan, stopping just shy of the rim. (Do your best with this -- I didn't get into the corners well enough, so I ended up with a big chunk of graham at the back of each slice.)
2. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour and lemon zest until well combined. Add the vanilla, then the eggs and yolks, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and beat well, so there are no streaks of cheese left.
3. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet (just in case your pan leaks). Pour the filling into the crust. Bake at 550 degrees (or as hot as your oven goes, if it doesn't go that hot) for 12 minutes or until puffed -- watch it carefully, so it doesn't burn! If it starts to brown on top, cut this step short and turn down the oven immediately.
4. Turn the oven down to 200 degrees and bake about an hour more, until the cake is mostly firm and the center wobbles slightly, like Jell-O, when shaken. Cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
5. Boil all of the topping ingredients together in a saucepan until somewhat thickened and syrupy. Cool and spread on top of cake.