I’d made a couple of cheesecakes before, but none had turned out exceptionally. Either I got a giant crack in the top, or my “water-tight” aluminum foil seal malfunctioned, and the water bath leaked into the spring-form pan when baking. They were mostly edible, but nothing to write home about. I got some new spring-form pans for Christmas, so I knew I wanted to make a cheesecake first thing. A cheesecake can be expensive to make, as many recipes call for close to a metric ton of cream cheese. I came across Ty Flo’s recipe, which only used 2 blocks. It also incorporated sour cream, which I had a giant tub of. It was rated 5 stars with a ton of reviews, so figured it was a good place to start.
It turned out perfect! The texture was thick and creamy, just what a cheesecake should be. For the topping I used Ina’s raspberry topping. In a previous baking venture I’d tried her recipe, which resulted in aforementioned crack. But, the topping – the topping was to die for. It’s such a simple concept; melting down strawberry jelly, then mixing in fresh raspberries. The sugar in the jelly just slightly macerates the berries. Turning them into sweet, juicy, little glistening gems. Perched on top of a decadent cheesecake. Sheer perfection. If you are leery of baking a cheesecake at home, please try this recipe. It won’t disappoint!
2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream (about 2 cups)
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup strawberry jelly (NOT jam or preserves)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 1 hour. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Un-mold and transfer to a cake plate.
To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slice the cheesecake with a thin, non-serrated knife that has been dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.