When cream cheese goes on sale at the Teeter, I can't help but buy four blocks. Why four? Four is the necessary amount blocks to make a big, honkin', at least 10-pound cheesecake.
For me, a good cheesecake is defined by a crushed cookie or cracker crust, a creamy baked middle, and THICK tall slices no puny slices allowed. And none of that no-bake stuff either. If you are gonna make cheesecake, might as well go big or go home.
Cheesecakes are finicky things. One of the challenges of making a cheesecake is getting a smooth top. In the baking and cooling process, cheesecakes tend to split down the middle like the Grand Canyon, leaving it to you to come up with a creative idea to hide the crack. Also, it tough to achieve a creamy silky cake sometimes they come out thick and dry. Some recipes require water baths, leaving the cake sitting in the oven for hours, sour cream topping, pre-baking the crust, etc. Blech, who has time for that?
Well, here is a simple, straight-forward recipe that yields a tall, creamy cake that comes out crack-free.
This plain vanilla cheesecake has a gingersnap crust and a blueberry lemon topping. Strangely, it's the easiest cheesecake recipe I've made and the results are the best yet. For a more traditional cake, feel free to substitute in graham crackers for the crust or to use canned cherry topping.
Perfect New York Cheesecake
2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom and sides of springform pan. (Tip: Use the bottom of a glass to press and flatten the crumbs in tight.)
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. (Tip: I use the paddle attachment on my Kitchen-Aid, not the wire beater. Also, don't mix too furiously. Beating in too much air contributes to collapsing, cracking, and a ruins the dense texture you are trying to achieve.) Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 1 to 2 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving. Top with blueberry topping if desired.
Blueberry Lemon Topping
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in a few tablespoons cold water
Boil blueberries, sugar and water until blueberries soften. Add in enough of the cornstarch mixture to thicken topping to desired consistency.