Seductively Smooth Cheesecake

I was amazed.  Shocked.  Mesmerized.  And seduced!

Seduced!

I can’t believe it.  I didn’t know a cheesecake had the power to seduce me!

I made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving.

This cheesecake was unbelievably good.  Smooth.  Creamy.  Perfect balance of sweetness and a hint of tartness from the lemon juice.

It was addictively good.  Seductively smooth.

I had originally planned of making Pumpkin Cheesecake.  But decided not to because my husband is not fond of pumpkin.  And the last time I made it, Ramon and I were the only ones who ate the whole pan.  Well almost.  Actually Don, my husband’s co-worker and friend made off with a third of it.  I sent him home with a large portion of it.

So for last Thanksgiving…  I decided to make a cheesecake that my husband would want to eat.

I decided on a plain, simple cheesecake.  With basic, simple and very accessible ingredients.  I know it was going to taste good.  I just didn’t know how good.

And when I finally had a slice.  I was amazed on how good it tasted.  I surpassed all my expectations.  And then some.

The proof was when after I had quickly gobbled up a slice.  I decided to try the store bought cheesecake that Don bought from Wal-Mart.  You know the kind.  They come in slices of different flavors: chocolate, caramel with pecans, strawberry, and plain.  I decided to try a slice topped with caramel and pecans.

The difference immediately jumped at me after my first bite of the caramel topped with pecans cheesecake.  It was almost a shock to my palette.  I have eaten store bought cheesecakes before and I don’t remember it being this bad.  I thought it was good.  But then again.  I have never eaten it back to back with a homemade cheesecake either.

The difference in taste was night and day.  I was literally dismayed on how the store bought cheesecake tasted.  It was gummy.  Pasty.  And almost disgusting compared to my homemade cheesecake.  My homemade cheesecake tasted of heaven.  Smooth.  Sweet.  Creamy.  Addictive.  And the store bought ones was like getting slapped in the face! And me waking up from good day dream.

I was taken.

I was seduced.

The store bought cheesecake woke me up and let me know how so much better the home made cheesecake was.  I don’t think I’ll buy cheesecakes from the store ever again.  Not after my taste test experience.

And the thing about this is that… The homemade cheesecake is not hard to make.  In fact, it’s unbelievably easy.  And simple.

I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating.  But you’d have to experience what I had experienced.

I encourage you to do it.   In fact.  I dare you.

And tell me I’m right.  Or wrong.  Or just plain crazy.  Or whatever.

~~~

You’ll need these in addition to the ingredients…

spring-form pan and parchment paper.

For the Crust:

Graham Crackers.  Crushed.

browned butter or melted butter.

Pour browned butter or melted butter over the crushed graham crackers.

Mix it up until butter moisten the crackers.

Press butter moisten crackers into the bottom of a removable spring-form pan.

Wrap foil around bottom of the pan.  Place pan/crust in the freezer while you make the filling.

For the Filling:

Cream Cheese.

Extra fine sugar.

Extra large eggs.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Pure vanilla extract.

Blend cream cheese and sugar with the paddle attachment at medium speed.  Until creamy.

Scrape the sides of the bowl.

Run mixer again for one minute before adding the eggs.

Add egg one at a time.  (Sorry.  This is my only shot and it’s blurred.)

And blend well after each addition.

Add lemon juice.

And vanilla extract.

Beat until smooth and well incorporated.

Pour cream cheese batter into the frozen crust.

Bake cheesecake at 350°F for 55 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Make the Topping:

Combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Stir with a whire wisk until smooth and creamy

Pour sour cream over cooled cheesecake.

Spread with a spatula.

Return cheesecake to the oven and bake for 7  minutes.

Remove cheesecake from the oven.  Cool for 2 hours.  Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

Top with strawberry preserves before serving.

Here’s the recipe:

Seductively Smooth Cheesecake

Crust:

1 ¼ cups crushed graham crackers

3 TBSPs. browned butter or 4 TBSPs. melted butter

Filling:

4 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each)

1 ¼ cups extra fine or baker’s sugar

4 extra large eggs

3 TBSPs. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Topping:

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup extra fine sugar

1 TBSP. freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

½ cup strawberry preserves

Bring out the cream cheeses and eggs and have them at room temperature at least 3 hours before making the cheesecake.

Preheat the oven at 350°F.

Cut out a circle of parchment paper and place it over the bottom of the pan.  Lock the spring-form around it.

To make the crust:

Place 1 ½ sleeves of graham crackers in a large Ziploc bag.  Close the bag.  Pound crackers with your fist to break ‘em up.  Roll a rolling pin over the bag of graham crackers, until they are of sand texture.

Measure 1 ¼ cups of crushed graham crackers into a medium size mixing bowl.  Drizzle the browned butter over the graham crackers.  Mix until butter moisten the crushed crackers.

Press the crust, with the palm of your hand, onto the bottom of the spring-form pan.  Put the crust/pan in the freezer while you mix the filling.

To make the filling:

Blend cream cheese and sugar with the paddle attachment at medium speed.  Blend until cheese is creamy and free of lumps.  Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Blend again for a one minute.

Add eggs, one at a time, into the cream cheese batter.  Blend well before adding the next egg.  After adding and blending the last egg, scrape the sides of the bowl and blend again for one minute.

Add lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Blend well.

Pour cream cheese butter into the frozen crust.

Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F for 55 minutes.  (After 55 minutes.  The middle of the cheesecake should still be a bit jiggly.)

Remove cheesecake from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.  Leave the oven on.

To make the topping:

In a medium size bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Stir with a wire whisk until smooth and creamy.  Pour over the cooled cheesecake.

Return the cheesecake into the hot oven and bake for 7 minutes.

Remove cheesecake from the oven and cool in wire rack for 2 hours.  Cover cheesecake with plastic rack and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Before serving:

Measure about ½ cup of strawberry preserves and spread over the cheesecake.

Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:

#1 – Browned butter.  Browned butter makes the crust tastes nutty and smell very aromatic.

#2 – By having the cream cheese and eggs out at room temperature at least 3 hours before making the cheesecake… this is what makes the cheesecake easier to blend.

#3 – Using extra fine sugar and adding eggs one at a time, makes an extra smooth, creamy cheesecake.

#4 – Parchment paper.  By lining the removable bottom of the spring-form pan with parchment paper, before pressing the crust onto it, makes cheesecake slices easy to remove when serving.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Tess Harris

8 thoughts on “Seductively Smooth Cheesecake

  1. Acouple years ago, I made a ‘real’ cheesecake. It was an Italian cheesecake, made with ricotta cheese, and not as much cream cheese as your recipe. Everyone loved it, so I guess it was a hit. Cheesecake isn’t something I make too often because who can stop at just one piece? I did learn something new from your posting. Never thought about pouring sour cream over the cooled cheesecake before placing the fruit topping on it. Interesting fact, and good tip to know. Will someday have to do the side by side taste testing to compare the difference. I’m sure I’ll get blown away like you did Tess 🙂

    • I know what you mean about “real cheesecake. Once I watching Giada De Laurentiis on food network. And she asserted that Italians use ricotta cheese for cheesecakes… 🙂 That was interesting!

      I know what you mean… Cheesecake is highly addictive for me too!

  2. HAPPY NEW YEAR TESS!!!!

    Cheesecake has many powers ask all my girlfriends….LOL. Whenever the girls need comfort food its all about the cheesecake. It is not something I crave but I will have a slice if its there…..but if it’s Pumpkin Cheesecake you gotta hold me back. I don’t eat the store bought shit ~ it’s not the same. If your gunna have cheesecake homemade is the only way to go so your not crazy…..well maybe just a little 🙂 I’m gunna pass this recipe off to my mom cause she will luv it & then when she makes it I will get to try it……yummy.

    All the best to you & your family in 2011. Keep the gr8 recipes coming 🙂

    Hugggeroos

    • Thanks Mario!

      Hahaha! You maybe right.

      I don’t blame your friends. Cheesecake is one of my favorite dessert. In addition to ice cream.

      You are smart for not eating the store bought shit. I didn’t know it was that bad until i ate them side by side with my homemade cheesecake. It was a revelation… LOL.

      I will have to make a Pumpkin Cheesecake next time. And share the recipe with you. Ramon and I liked it very much. And I have been wanting to make it for awhile now.

      Wishing you all the best for 2011!

      Hugs!

  3. you the best tess ,thank you for having another blog. i used to be on your yahoo360, glad i found you again. love how you show everything step by step and your foods look amazing , yummmmmy!!!! happy new year, winkx & hugs 🙂

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