When it comes to rich and creamy desserts, one name instantly comes to mind – Cheesecake, not just because it has Cheese in ts name, but because it truly is the king of all velvetty smooth desserts! With a crisp graham cracker crust, followed by a layer of fresh and smooth flavored cream cheese, then topped with your favorite fruit topping, a Cheesecake is a treat that pleases the eyes and the soul. Even among cheesecakes, there are several varieties of cheesecake like New York style, Chicago-style, Roman style, even no-bake varieties which are a perfect treat for a novice chef. However, the credit for developing the good old American cheesecake goes to James Craft, who invented cream cheese in 1872.
Below, you see a simple vanilla cheesecake recipe, courtesy of Good Bites and photographed by TotalAldo via Flickr. This is a basic recipe that you can enhance and build upon to suit your palate. Instead of Vanilla, use coffee, chocolate or any other flavored essence with the cream cheese mixture. Top it with simple berries or seasonal fruits, a mixed-berry sauce, nuts or chocolate shavings, whatever you fancy. And use the included video tutorial to bake your perfect Cheesecake at home. The sauce is a versatile one so you can use it on ice creams, pancakes or any other desserts.
Cheesecake with Berry Topping
Prep Time: 30 mins
Bake Time: 1 hour 20 mins
Chill Time: 6-8 hours
For the Cheesecake
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 cups boiled water
For the Sauce
1 1/2 cup mixed berries (strawberry, raspberry, boysenberry)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp rose essence
3/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with foil, folding excess foil underneath. Assemble spring form and wrap the outside of the pan with foil so no water can get inside during baking.
Mix graham cracker crumbs with 7 tablespoons butter. Use the remaining tablespoon of butter to grease the inside bottom and sides of the spring form pan. Press graham cracker mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan and use the bottom of a glass to smooth out the crust. Place pan in oven and bake until crust is lightly browned along the edges, about 15-18 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Now turn the oven up to 500 degrees. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl before each addition.
Add vanilla, lemon juice, zest and salt. Beat for a few seconds to combine. Add the sour cream and the heavy cream and beat until just combined. Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust and place the pan in a large roasting pan or glass baking dish. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to halfway up the sides of the spring form. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Lower heat to 200 degrees and bake for another hour or so, until the whole cake jiggles or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 150 degrees. Remove cake from the roasting pan (but leave in the spring form) and set on a rack to cool for an hour. Once cool, cover and place cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to set before un-molding and serving.
To make the Berry Sauce, heat the berries along with water and sugar until they become soft and mushy, and almost cooked. Add the rose and vanilla essence, then allow to simmer for a couple minutes. remove from flame and let it cool to room temperature. Coarsely blend this mixture to make your fruit topping. Drizzle it over the cheesecake before serving.
When ready to serve, remove the cake from the springform pan by removing the base and the sides, top it with the Berry fruit mixture, and cut into individual slices. You can make it more fancy by topping it with some fresh strawberries or a dollop of whipped cream, but it would taste just as smooth and creamy and wonderful, even if you did not take the trouble to adorn it.
This is a great recipe to re-create the magic of a simple New York style cheesecake at home. It comes out smooth and creamy, and the berry topping is an added bonus. A perfect homemade treat to make any occasion extra-special!