Crust: 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butter
24 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest (recommended: Meyer lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces creme fraiche
2 tablespoons sugar
Cherry Confit, recipe follows
Special equipment: a 9-inch non-stick Teflon coated spring form pan
Serving suggestion: with a dessert wine (recommended: Alsatian Riesling).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter together in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and using a mixing cup press the crumbs into the base. Using your fingers gently press crumbs into the sides of the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Let cool.
In a food processor, cream the cream cheese and the sugar together. Add the zest and vanilla, Blend until smooth. Add 5 egg yolks and heavy cream, pulse until smooth. Pour into a large clean bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until a soft froth forms. Add 2 tablespoons sugar slowly to the egg whites and continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Fold into cream cheese, a little bit at a time until fully integrated. Pour into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Mix the creme fraiche and sugar together and gently spread over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool until the topping is set or chill overnight and serve. Best served at room temperature.
Serve with Cherry Confit.
1 pound fresh cherries, pitted
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean, split
2 sprigs thyme (tied with string)
In a medium non-corrosive saucepan place water, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and thyme. Bring to the boil, turn down heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add cherries and simmer for 1 hour. If more liquid is needed add water. Continue to simmer until the cherry mixture is thick and the cherries are soft. Pour into a clean container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Yield: 6 servings
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
***if you prefer a crust without nuts, the recipe for the no-nuts crust is at the end of this recipe***Crust:
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds 3/4 cup finely chopped vanilla wafers 2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese 1 1/3 cups sugar 5 large eggs 16 ounces sour cream 1/4 cup flour 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Mix all nuts and vanilla wafer crumbs with melted butter and press into a 9 inch buttered springform pan, trying to line the sides as much as possible about 1 1/2″ up the sides of the pan, set aside.
1. All the filling ingredients should be at room temperature.
2. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy with an electric mixer set on low (keep the setting at low during the entire mixing process).
3. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.
4. Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.
5. Add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mix well.
6. Add the sour cream and beat well.
7. Pour cream cheese mixture into the springform pan.
8. Place on the top rack in the middle of a 325 degrees preheated oven for one hour and 15 minutes.
9. When time is up turn oven off, prop open oven door and leave in oven for one hour.
10. Remove from oven and let cool then refrigerate for 24 hours.
11. Remember this important tip : A cheesecake should season. The wait is worth it. The flavor ripens and becomes enriched.
***The crust recipe below is for those who prefer a crust without nuts***
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup melted margarine
1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix in melted margarine.
2. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper.
3. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side.
4. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter, meltedFilling:
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, melted
1.)Combine graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter; press onto bottom of a springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
2.)Combine cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla extract, mixing at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add heavy cream, mix well.
3.)Blend chocolate into 1 cup of the batter. Pour plain and chocolate batters alternately over crust; cut through batters with a knife several times for marble effect.
4.)Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F, then continue baking for 30 more minutes.
5.)Loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cake cool completely before removing rim of pan. Chill.