The Ultimate Cheesecake for Valentine’s Day

This is a simple, classic cheesecake but, to me, it is simply the best.

Because of my cooking shows and cookbooks, I’ve made hundreds of miscellaneous, multi-flavored cheesecakes. This one, from my dear friend Linda Hodges many years ago, remains my all time favorite. While it is rich and creamy, it has a lighter texture than many cheesecakes. You can get creative with most any topping, from a chocolate sauce to fresh seasonal berries and whipped cream.

For Valentine’s Day tomorrow, try raspberries or strawberries. They can be plain, sugared, glazed or even in a canned pie filling. The standout flavor is the yummy, smooth cheesecake with a delicious buttery graham cracker crust.

Here area few cheesecake tips:

  • Cheesecakes have a tendency to crack. That doesn’t bother me because I always serve mine with a topping. To help avoid the cracks, beat the cream cheese well to remove all the lumps before adding the eggs. Once you add the eggs, beat briefly and gently until blended
  • Another tip is to bake the cheesecake gently in a “hot water bath”. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil. Then place it in a shallow, larger pan of hot water in the oven.
  • The cheesecake will still be a little wobbly in the center when the baking time is up. Don’t over bake. It will firm up while cooling down.
    The Ultimate Cheesecake
    1. 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
    2. 3 Tblsp. brown sugar
    3. 1 tsp. cinnamon
    4. ½ cup melted butter
    1. 3 (8 oz. ) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
    2. 1 ½ cups sugar
    3. 4 eggs
    4. 2 cups sour cream
    5. 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
    6. ½ tsp. vanilla
    7. 8 oz. whipping cream ( NOT whipped)
    1. Combine crust ingredients. Press into a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while missing the filling.
    2. For the filling, beat the cream cheese until smooth while gradually adding the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating to mix well, but not over-beating. Add the remaining ingredients and mix 1 minute. Pour into crust.
    3. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil. Place the pan in a larger shallow pan with water (hot water bath described in my tips). Place in oven and bak at 325 degrees for 1 hour (don’t open the door during cooking). After 1 hour, turn off the oven and leave another hour without opening the door. Refrigerate several hours before serving.
    4. Serve with fresh fruit such as raspberries or strawberries or chocolate sauce or canned cherry pie filling.
    Simply the Best from Barbara McKay

Tell Me: What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor?

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