I’ve never liked cheesecake.
I think it’s heavy, and the idea of eating baked cream cheese was always a little off to me. But this weekend I’m leaving for a trip and I had strawberries and a lot of cream cheese in my fridge plus some graham crackers in my pantry. Seemed like a logical combination.
So I dug up an old Comfort Home Cooking book and got started. I didn’t bother blog hunting or finding a trendy way to make it. I just wanted something my grandma would have made. No skimping!
And guess what? It turned out great!
Confession: the recipe called for a spring-form pan, but I didn’t use one. You can bake the crust in a 10 inch spring-form pan or a regular pie dish.
5 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (10 graham crackers or 24 small gingersnaps; about 6 ounces pulsed in a food processor until finely ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (omit this if you use salted butter)
Combine the crushed graham crackers with all other ingredients and press into the spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
For the filling, I decided to add pureed strawberries. Mostly because I was excited by the idea of a pink cheesecake.
4 8-oz bars of Cream cheese
¼ cup cornstarch
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup heavy cream
1 lb strawberries
In a large bowl, add 1 package of cream cheese and the cornstarch and combine with an electric mixer. Add the remaining sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and just combine, do not over-mix.
Puree 1/3 of the strawberries in a blender and add to mixture until combined. Pour into crust. Put the pan into another pan full of water (about an inch). Tent with aluminum foil.
Bake for about an hour, until the center of the pan barely jiggles. Remove from the bath and cool for an hour. Put in the fridge for up to 2 hours. Then you can either decorate the top with fresh strawberries, which is what I did or add a traditional cheesecake topping (see below).
12 oz sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Combine sour cream and sugar and spread evenly on cheesecake after it’s cooled. Chill for another hour and serve. This element is my favorite part. It’s tart and sweet at the same time, and so refreshing!