Mr. Sweeter Thing has declared 2014 the “year of healthy choices”. I declared 2014 the “year of cheesecake”. Take a guess who’s winning 2014 so far. I’ve always been so intimidated by making cheesecake. I L.O.V.E. cheesecake, I have high high expectations for cheesecake. We have been known to drive all the way to Cheesecake Factory (25 minutes min. from our house) just to grab cheesecake to go. I’ve always been afraid to spend the time and energy making something that would inevitably fall short. It would be either too creamy, like pudding, or too dry. It might be too tart or too sweet. Or it might just taste “wrong” altogether. I’d rather drive 25 minutes and pay $8 per slice to have it just right. Until now. Something about this recipe was far from intimidating. No water bath to cook it in, no guess work about whether or not its cooked long enough. I followed the instructions to the letter and it came out perfect. I served it to eight people, including Mr. Sweeter Thing (my toughest critic by far) and all gave it rave reviews. The raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream finished it off perfectly. So be inspired, overcome your fear of cheesecake baking, like I did, and give this one a go. You’re welcome in advance.
Start by making your graham cracker crust. Did you know you can buy graham cracker crumbs? As in already crushed? I mean, I didn’t do it because I’m too cheap and I already had whole graham crackers, but you can. And you should. I crushed mine with a rolling pin and a plastic freezer bag.
Mix your crumbs with some sugar, salt, almond meal (or finely crushed almonds), and melted butter. Stir until all the crumbs are evenly moistened.
Press into the bottom and up the sides of a lightly greased 10 inch spring form pan. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour before filling with cheesecake.
For the cheesecake, start with ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese. Apparently this is very important and I didn’t want to tempt cheesecake fate with take it out of the fridge 1-2 hours before using.
Whip with sugar and salt until smooth.
Add flour and egg yolk and mix until smooth.
Add sour cream, vanilla, almond extract, lemon juice, and nutmeg and mix well.
In a small bowl beat egg whites and white sugar together until stiff peaks form. For the novice baker, stiff peaks look like the picture below. In other words, the little “waves” made by beaters hold their shape.
Fold the egg whites into the batter, making sure they are incorporated evenly. Spread into your cooled crust.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour 15 minutes. THEN, turn the oven off but LEAVE THE DOOR CLOSED AND THE CHEESECAKE IN THE OVEN for another hour. If you take it out, it will fall. Don’t let the cheesecake fall. When its done it will look like this. Remove the outer part of the spring form pan and put the cheesecake in the fridge to chill for a couple hours before serving.
To make the raspberry sauce, thaw a frozen package (12 ounces) of raspberry and drain the liquid through a colander. Pour the liquid into a 1/2 cup measuring cup, add water until the total amount of liquid is 1/2 cup. Combine the liquid with the thawed raspberries in a blender or food processor and puree. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to get all the seeds out, pressing the solids against the bottom and sides to separate all the liquid. Combine the liquid in a saucepan with corn starch, sugar, and salt. Whisk until smooth and cook over medium heat just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and cool until read to serve.
Serve chilled cheesecake with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream. Yum.
New York Style Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
Recipe slightly adapted from Love and Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, finely ground or almond meal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 (8-ounce) packages plain cream cheese, room temperature (it is VERY important that the cheese be at room temperature; take the packages out of the fridge at least 1 to 2 hours or more before you start preparing the cake).
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 (12-ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2-3 tablespoons white sugar
- dash salt
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, ground almonds, and salt in a bowl. Drizzle melted butter and stir until evenly moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides (as far as it’ll go) of a lightly buttered 10-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and salt and beat until smooth. Add flour and egg yolks and mix thoroughly. Stir in sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla, almond extract, and nutmeg and beat until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup sugar until it form stiff peaks. Fold thoroughly into cream cheese mixture (no need to be terribly gentle with it, but you do want the whites to be evenly incorporated). Pour into chilled crust.
- Bake cheesecake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until top is puffed and lightly golden brown. There will be cracks, but that’s ok. Without opening the oven door, turn the oven off, and let the cheesecake sit in the oven as it cools for 1 hour. Do not take the cheesecake immediately out of the hot oven or it will fall. After 1 hour, remove outer part of the springform pan and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight before slicing.
- To prepare raspberry sauce, drain thawed raspberries, reserving any liquid. Add enough water so the liquid equals 1/2 cup. Place in blender along with berries and purée until smooth. Transfer mixture to a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornstarch, sugar, and salt and cook until mixture thickens and just starts to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool before spooning over chilled cheesecake.