Cheesecake, as promised

I promised that with Francesca’s Prosciutto and Fennel Salad and the Asparagus Baked Pasta that you had a dinner party.  Well, almost. In my humble opinion, no dinner party is complete without dessert. Francesca would say fruit, but I think dessert. I promised a cheesecake and so you will have one. This is one has two layers and isn’t in need of anything else but if you like, you can serve it with some macerated strawberries or the Melba Sauce shown in the photo. (Francesca will follow this post with a recipe for the Melba Sauce)   You do need to bake this the night before you want to serve it.

I wouldn’t be me without an opinion or two.  Stop laughing, Francesca!  Springform pans: I don’t like them coated with non-stick finish, I don’t like dark ones, and I especially I don’t like the ones with the elevated bottom and big one inch foot on the outside as you can’t put them on a cake stand and they take up a lot of room in the fridge.  I like them shiny, with a bumpy bottom that sits in a groove inside the bottom of the ring.  Treat them right by washing gently so as not to bend them and drying them right away and reassembling and they will last a long time.  If you let them air dry, they will pit and rust.

Ingredients – Graham Cracker Crust:

1 & 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
6 TBS butter, melted

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and toss until thoroughly moistened. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 10″ springform pan with a spatula.  Set aside.

Ingredients – Cheesecake:

(4) 8 oz Packages of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
1 & 1/3 cups granulated sugar
(6) large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp almond extract

Ingredients – Topping:

1 pint of sour cream
6 TBS granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set rack in just below the middle of the oven.

Place the first package of cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream on low speed.  Add remaining packages of cream cheese, one at a time, creaming until soft.  Turn the mixer up slightly and slowly add the sugar. Beat until the sugar is dissolved (Note: don’t beat at too high a speed.  Incorporating air will cause your cheesecake to fall and crack later on.) Scrape down the bowl as you need to.

Turn the mixer up to about medium and beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl in between.  Pour in the almond extract and give it one last mix.

Pour the cheesecake mix into the 10″ springform pan with the graham cracker crust. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cheesecake should be set with a slightly jiggly center. Remove from oven and maintain oven temperature.

In a small bowl mix the topping. Wisk until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over cheesecake and bake in oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Allow to cook until the pan can be handled (it will still be warm).  Cover with an inverted 12 inch dinner plate or a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The cheesecake will set up in the fridge.  When you are ready to serve it, run a thin knife around the perimeter of the pan and release the sides.  When serving, cut two slices the first time and serve pull one out with a pie server or spatula.  You should end up with a good result.

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0 thoughts on “Cheesecake, as promised

  1. Waste Not Want Not

    Yummy! I love making and eating cheesecake of all the yummy desserts in this whole wide world! Thank you so much for the recipe! I love cheesecake so much that I buy creamed cheese in bulk and almost always have a cake or two in the freezer for a quick delicacy when unexpected guests arrive. You can’t beat it with a good coffee or tea. I will add this to my endless collection of cheesecake recipes.

  2. talkavino

    wow. The presentation is great, but, going beyond presentation – this is one of the best food pictures I ever saw. How did you take this picture? Can you may be write a blog post with the advice about taking the food pictures?

    1. Stefano

      Thank you so much for your kind words, first of all.
      The lighting setup for this shot was fairly simple: a softbox on camera right, behind the subject, and a white reflector on camera left. All credit for the presentation goes to Francesca, who is also our demanding art director.
      Writing a post on food photography is actually a very good idea, but it will take me a while because I got a few wine-related things lined up that I need to work on. But as soon as I have a little time I will get to it.
      In a nutshell, to me food photography is no different than any other kind of photography: in order to be successful in my view one needs to (i) light the shot properly according to the mood he or she wants to convey, (ii) have a nice and balanced composition, paying attention to all details (especially the background), and (iii) understand what different focal lengths do to your picture (e.g., long lenses compress the shot, short lenses expand space) and choose and use the appropriate lens for the shot to his or her advantage.
      Hope this helps and thank you so much again for your very kind comment.
      Take care