This recipe is literally the best recipe you could ever need for cheesecake. I’m serious. It produces such a rich, tasty product that you don’t actually need to put anything on it or with it. A good cheesecake should always be able to be consumed on its own without all the “frills”. Don’t make this unless you have time to “babysit” it. The cooking method is what makes a cheesecake a cheesecake.
Beautiful isn’t it??
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (or digestive biscuits if you happen to have those on hand!)
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (it gives it a nice kick but isn’t needed)
For the filling:
(4) 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk (sometimes I replace 1/4 cup of the evap. milk with buttermilk)
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix together the crust ingredients and press into a 9 inch springform pan (or any type you like the springform is just easier to use with a cheesecake). Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes and let cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl combine the filling ingredients. Whip it with a mixer until combined, but DO NOT overbeat it, that tends to lend to cracks. Pour into the crust.
Now comes the tricky part, the part that assures you a good cheesecake. And no it doesn’t need a water bath (unless you really feel like it) Put the pan into a 300 to 325 degree preheated oven – you may have to adjust this down depending on how brown it gets or if it starts to crack (its cooking at too high a temperature if that happens). Now check on it from time to time.
You want to cook it until its still jiggly in the middle but definitely set up. Should take about an hour or so depending on your oven, outside temperatures, cooking environment, ingredients, etc. When set up turn the oven OFF and let it sit inside for at least 60 mins. Do NOT open the oven door to check it at this point. It will continue to cook slowly.
Then you need to cool it slowly. I usually just let it sit in the oven for a couple more hours and then remove it to the fridge but otherwise let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes and then remove it to the fridge. The slower it cools the less chance you have of cracks forming.
It will crack if the interior doesn’t cool slowly enough, heat up slowly or apparently if you don’t make this on a Tuesday! Cracks happen…but cover it up with fruit and your good to go! If its too gooey (like you didn’t cook it long enough) freeze it. That usually sets it up nicely.
This is a recipe that takes practice I’m afraid. Not that the results are bad if it cracks, they are still tasty, it just doesn’t produce as pretty a cheesecake.
The usual way I make cheesecake is in mini form. You can find prepared mini graham cracker crusts in the grocery store.
Yielding 6 minis (with a little left over):
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons evaporated milk or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Make the same as above except put the mini pans on a cookie sheet to bake. And WATCH them, they cook very fast (about 20 minutes or so).