|This version didn't chill in the refrigerator for the full six hours before we consumed it... we were just a little bit excited.|
So, back a couple of months ago I scoured the internet for a delicious cheesecake recipe complete with pretty pictures. I found it. Smitten Kitchen to the rescue, once again. I was all set and prepared to make a 4th of July cheesecake and take pictures throughout the process and then Keats got sick. As in, really sick. He had a fever and little rashy bumps spreading across his whole body. We took him to the doctor who diagnosed it as "a virus" and prescribed "waiting" and a bit of children's Tylenol. Trying (and failing) to remain calm through our first sick baby ever, Birch and I continued with our plans for the holiday weekend. Birch marinated and slow-smoked pork shoulder and ribs while I followed this amazing recipe for the first time (there have been several made since).
I modified the recipe slightly, using all organic ingredients, cultured cream cheese, less sugar, and a fresh berry topping complete with the most patriotism I could muster. So here is Smitten Kitchen's modified recipe of a Gourmet Magazine recipe, once again modified by me (in bold):
8 ounces finely ground graham crackers (I have subsequently used ginger snaps, lemon cookies, and golden "Oreos." What are you talking about? I haven't eaten five cheesecakes in the last two months! Wait, yes, yes I have.)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Very tall cheesecake filling:
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used cultured cream cheese and it worked fine and was delicious)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Make crumb crust:
Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides, stopping one inch shy of the top rim, of a buttered 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Pop it into the freezer so it quickly sets while preparing the filling.
|Didn't catch it browning in time,|
but Birch assured me it was fine.
Make very tall cheesecake filling:
Preheat oven to 550 degrees (my oven only goes up to 500, but it may have reached 550 during the long preheat. I'm not sure because we don't have an oven thermometer. Christmas?) Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions; I cannot stress this enough as if you do not, you'll end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese. I always find at least one, despite my best efforts.
Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake in baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. Please watch your cake because some oven will top-brown very quickly and if yours does too fast, turn the oven down as soon as you catch it. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about one hour more.
Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in the springform on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, at least 6 hours (as you can see, my first attempt at this didn't get the full six hours, but despite it's sloppy behavior it was still delicious).
Wonderfully enough, Keats perked back up just in time for the three of us to join in the holiday festivities! We went to Birch's family party on the 4th then to mine on the 5th (our 2nd anniversary). It was so much fun and such a relief to have a healthy boy again). Feeling chipper, I decorated the cake with fresh raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries from the farmer's market. My family has a serious obsession with fresh fruit which my brother-in-law is famous for shaking his head at.
We all had a grand time, though not everyone could attend and we missed them. Especially my sister and her family who live in England. We haven't seen them since last Christmas and it gets harder everyday. I'm so excited, though, because they're coming to visit NEXT WEEK! Suzie is the sister just above me in a line of six and we've always been very close. Being thousands of miles apart is extremely difficult, especially now that we both have little ones. I'm sure her time here won't be nearly sufficient, but I look forward to it with all my heart. And yes, Suzie, I am planning on making a cheesecake while you're here. Any requests?
Seriously, this cheesecake is SO delicious and Birch declared it to be the BEST he's ever tasted. So congratulations to Deb of Smitten Kitchen, Gourmet Magazine (RIP), and to me! Yay! Now to resist the urge of making another one right now...