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.