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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I’m Dreaming of a Cheesecake Christmas

I have always loved cheese, any kind of cheese, prepared and served every way possible! Then I discovered that by employing the amazing velvety goodness of cheese, in a cheesecake, it gets even better! Cheesecake is such a perfect blend of creamy and sweet that it is simply a wonderful way to celebrate any special occasion. I have been making this particular cheesecake recipe for years and no matter how I vary the topping or the crust everyone seems to love it. Over the years, I have delighted family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors with my offerings of full sized and cupcake size cheesecakes for holidays and birthdays. However, I believe that Christmas dinner demands an especially luxurious finish therefore; I chose to make this full size version. Please try this wonderful recipe. Enjoy!!!
This recipe was originally taken from my Cheesecake Madness cookbook, written by John J. Segreto, paperback version, ©1981, page 17. This collection of cheesecake recipes contains a history of cheese cookery and it states that the first known cheesecake was produced by the ancient Greeks sometime between 800 and 700 BC for athletes, who ate them for energy! This makes the premise of baked cheese about 2,800 years old. It also means that cheesecake must be good for you, right! I guess I am not alone in my love for all things cheese, even people living during ancient times knew how amazing cheese is…
This is my variation of this wonderful recipe for New York Style Cheesecake.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
1 ½ cups cookie crumbs (I like to use Oreo Cookies, vanilla wafers, pecan cookies or any variety that fits the theme I am trying to create.)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more to butter a 10 – inch springform pan (no margarine please)
In a food processor, grind the cookies into crumbs, add the sugar and butter, and pulse to combine. Pour the crumb mixture into your buttered pan, press into the bottom making sure to seal the bottom to the sides. Then, put the pan into the freezer while you make the filling.
1 ½ lbs (3 - 8oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature (I recommend Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (only use real vanilla extract, no vanilla flavoring or artificial vanilla please! I hate to keep harping about this, but it really does make a huge difference!)
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
*No high altitude adjustment is necessary.
In a stand mixer, on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and 1 egg, and beat until well incorporated. Add the remaining eggs and beat well. When all the eggs are incorporated, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the sour cream and the whipping cream and beat well. Let the filling rest for 5 minutes then pour it into the prepared pan. Rotate the pan, a few times, to dislodge any air bubbles. Place the cheesecake pan on a sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour or until the sides have risen above the pan, are slightly browned on the edge, and the middle is still wobbly. If the middle is very wobbly, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake. Do not use a cake tester to test for doneness, as the cheesecake will crack. Turn off the oven; and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour with the door open slightly, like you were broiling something. The cheesecake will sink back into the pan, and edge will remain higher than the middle. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight would actually be better.
Tip: It is not necessary to top this cheesecake, as it is delicious with no topping at all. However, if you plan to top this cheesecake, as I did for Christmas, make the topping while the cheesecake is cooling in the oven. I cook the topping on top of the stove so it is thick and ready when the cheesecake is taken out of the oven.
2 cans of fruit (For this cheesecake, I used pitted dark sweet cherries.)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Pour one can of fruit, with juice, into a small sauce pan. Drain the second can, reserve the juice, and add the fruit to the pan. Add the cornstarch and mix well to combine. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. When the juice begins to boil, stir continuously, until the topping has thickened and cleared. If the topping becomes too thick, thin it with some of the reserved juice. It should be thick but pourable. Pour onto the cheesecake as soon as you take it out of the oven. Spread with the back of a spoon. Let the cake cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. ©2011
Tips and Ideas
1. If you buy fruit packed in its own juice instead of in heavy syrup you may need to add some sugar. It is dessert, and it is not low fat or low calorie so I splurged and got cherries packed in heavy syrup.
2. You may also want to add a few drops of extract to the topping. Example – a few drops of almond extract is wonderful in cherry or peach topping, or a few drops of vanilla extract in apple or berry topping gives it a nice flavor boost.
3. For a nice presentation and to complete your theme, you might wish to grate some nuts, hard candy, citrus zest, or chocolate over the top when you remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. I grated some bittersweet chocolate over my cherry topping to match my chocolate cookie crust.
4. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator a least 1 hour before serving.
5. Remove the sides from the springform pan as soon as you take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator. Place on a cake plate.
6. If your cheesecake should crack, when you remove it from the oven, use the tips of your fingers to gently press around the edges of the crack as this will fill the crack in a bit, alternately, you can use the topping of your choice to cover up the crack!
Line cupcake pans with paper or foil cups. Place a vanilla wafer or any small cookie that you choose in the bottom of each cup. Fill the cups with batter, about half way. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until just set. Do not over bake. Remove from the oven, cool completely, and refrigerate. ©2011


  1. Debbie, I love your recipe. Just in time! I was about to make a scratch cheesecake for New Years! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you, Kitty! Yes,this cheesecake with any variety of crust and/or topping would be a wonderful way to ring in the New Year!