The other day my husband told me something that surprised me. The husband, unlike me, isn’t a big sweets person. He likes ice cream every once in a while, couldn’t care less about chocolate, and isn’t tempted by cake. He’s partial to pumpkin pie, which makes Thanksgiving his favorite time of year. But, the other night, after we had put the wee tot to bed and were watching some pointless cooking show, he admitted he sure loves a slice of creamy cheesecake.
When did this happen?
You see, I LOVE cheesecake, and I also LOVE making it! In fact, I used to make loads of cheesecakes in high school and college (definitely adding to my freshman 15-30… ), which lead to the end of my cheesecake obsession. Over the years I’ve put baking and cheesecake-making on the back burner in favor of creating scrumptious meals and nice light desserts here and there.
So, when he uttered those words, an amazed-high-pitch-squeeeeel escaped from my mouth. The husband gaped at me in udder concern. I think he was worried I was malfunctioning in some way. I explained, in gasping words, that I would make him the best cheesecake he’s ever had.
I just needed a springform pan.
First thing in the morning we went the local foodie store and purchased a premium 9-inch pan along with the meager ingredients required for making cheesecake.
And, cheesecake I made.
My husband declared it truly WAS the best cheesecake he’s ever had.
But, I do think he’s learned that offering me food praise is the true way to my heart.
What you need for the best ever cheesecake
16 ounces room temperature cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon zested
Dash of salt
Crumb crust (2 cups ground cookies, graham crackers, pretzels (whatever) mixed with 1/4 cup melted butter)
9-inch springform pan + a deep baking pan
How to make the perfection
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put your cream cheese into a mixing bowl and give it a spin with a hand mixer set on medium speed. At first that cream cheese is going to be all gloppy and boring, but then when it starts getting all whipped, it will turn smooth and soft, with no bumps or lumps. Give it a good minute or so with the hand mixer and you’ll get there.
Measure out the sugars and add to the cream cheese. Really mix this up well, making sure there are no clumps of brown sugar. You can also add the vanilla, lemon zest, and dash of salt and give it another good spin with the hand mixer.
Now blend in one of the eggs and mix well. Add in the sour cream and give another good spin. Now add the last egg and blend one last time for about 30 seconds. The mix should look absolutely wonderful and lovely. Set that good stuff aside.
Go ahead and start some water boiling – at least 4 cups. And, go ahead and put that 1/4 cup of butter in a wee pot to warm – or toss it in the microwave for a couple of seconds.
To make the crumb crust, put a good handful of whatever you would like the crust to be made of into the blender. I’m partial to using the traditional graham crackers, but have used chocolate cookies, pretzels, vanilla wafers, and even ginger snaps. Once it’s all pulverized nice and fine, measure out 2-cups into a mixing bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over the goodness and give a mix with a fork. It will look like sand granules.
Gently press the crumb crust into your springform pan. It will be crumbly, but that will change later.
Now, gently pour your cheesecake mix over the crust and smooth the top. Place the sprinfrom pan in the deep baking pan and then into the pre-heated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven.
Before closing the door and walking away, pour the hot water all around the outside of the sprinform pan just shy of 2-inches from the top of the pan.
Set your timer for 45-mintues, close up your oven, and walk away.
Yeah, you’re going to think it’s not done when your timer ding-a-lings, but trust me. A little jiggle in the middle will be just perfect later. Remove the springform pan from the baking tray. Be careful! Not only is that cheesecake hot, that water is hot, too. DO NOT try to take the whole shebang out of the oven! The water will slosh about, causing you to flinch, and your cheesecake will land on the floor. I’ve been there, really.
Here’s the hard part. You need to let your cheesecake rest for at least 30-minutes before touching it. Once those 30-minutes are up, you can gently slide a knife around the outside edge of the springform pan to help release the cheesecake.
So, go ahead, open the side and take a look at your cheesecake! Now, guess what? You’ve got to wait at least another 2-hours before digging in! If you rush it, that cheesecake just wont be right. I know it’s hard to wait, but you will be rewarded later. Place your luscious cheesecake in the fridge and forget about it.
When those 2-hours are up, you can slice away. Put a piece on a plate and enjoy plain or add some fresh sliced strawberries, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, or some chopped pistachio nuts.
It’s all good no matter how you serve it.