Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heaven, I'm in Heaven...Ultimate Cheesecake Recipe

And my heart beats so that I can hardy speak.
This, my friends, is the reaction you will have when you sink your teeth into this creamy, dreamy cheesecake. It is amazing! I have had this recipe for many years, not sure where it came from, but it is one of those treasures that is hand written on a piece of oil stained paper. I have made this recipe no telling how many times, and each time I am reminded of why I love it so. Cheesecake is right up there with sour cream chicken enchiladas; I want it to be part of my last supper. There is nothing like a big slab of cheesecake dribbled with homemade fudge sauce with some berries on the side, just to make you feel healthy! This cheesecake needs no additions. You will be lucky if you can get a slice to a plate before eating it off of the serving spoon. It is that good. If you have been looking for a new recipe to try or if you are a bit nervous about the thought of cheesecake, gals get your big girl panties on and get ready to knock your socks off. This would be the ultimate treat for your valentine this year. I promise this recipe is a keeper, behind lock and key and covered in a nice protective sleeve so that your copy doesn't look as bad as mine.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get to cookin'!

Ultimate Cheesecake recipe
Before I start, there are a few rules that you MUST follow to get insure that you will have cheesecake perfection when baking. You MUST, MUST have room temp ingredients. Set your cream cheese on your counter the night before you want to make this so that it has room to get really good and soft. If you are making this in the morning then set your eggs out the night before too. They will not spoil if used within the next day. I promise you need room temp. I will say this again, but you want to beat that cream cheese until you don't think you can beat it anymore. You can't over beat cream cheese (within reason) but you CAN over beat cream cheese once your eggs and other ingredients are added. And, you must provide some kind of water in the oven while baking. It's sensitive like that so just do as I tell you and you will be fine. Let's get started.

2 cups Crushed graham crackers (Typically, a box comes with three sleeves wrapped, one sleeve crushed is good) you could also use crushed oreo's if you are feeling very frisky!
1/3 white sugar
6 Tbsp butter melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
 Combine all into a bowl. Press into the bottom of a spring form pan as evenly as possible. You must have a 10" spring form pan, otherwise, it will overflow. You can get these at any kitchen supply store or craft store typically. I do NOT go up the sides, I like the nice even look of the crust just being on the bottom. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300. 

2 Lbs (4, 8oz packages) cream cheese at ROOM TEMP
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs at ROOM TEMP
2 cups heavy cream at ROOM TEMP
1 cup sour cream at ROOM TEMP (Get my drift?)
1/2 tsp vanilla
In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. You want to get some air in the cream cheese that will help it have a great texture. Be sure you scrape the bowl a few times so that there is no un-beaten cream cheese hanging out in the bottom of the bowl.
Add eggs, one at a time, scrapping between each addition. Add sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined. 
Pour cream mixture over crust.
 Before baking, make sure the rack you will bake the cheesecake on is in the middle of the oven. On the rack below it, place a large 9x13 pan and fill it at least half way up with hot water. It is easier to put the pan in, and then pour the water. Be careful to not burn yourself while bending over in the oven! I prefer a steam bath for the cheesecake as opposed to wrapping the pan in foil and setting it in a bath. This insures that no water will leak in the cheesecake and it is still getting all of the tender love and care it needs to cook perfectly.
Place your cheesecake on the middle rack, above the steam bath, and shut the door. Have no plans of opening that door for a while.
Set your timer on for 1 hour 15 minutes, top should be firm to the touch (but I prefer you not touch it) and there should be no cracks. You can open the door and slightly wiggle it, if it is WAY wiggly, cook for a few minutes more but this time should do the trick. Once it has cooked for 1 hour 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven for at least 2 hours. It needs time to recoup and settle down a bit. After at least two hours, remove and allow it to come to room temp on your counter. After it has reached room temp, place it in your fridge and allow it to chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

When you are ready to serve, take a butter knife and slide it gently around the edge of the pan before removing the spring from sides. You should have a perfectly set cheesecake with no cracks or blemishes.
Serve with warm fudge sauce, caramel sauce, strawberries, whipped cream...whatever floats your boat. This cheesecake will serve at least 16 people.

Happy Valentine's Day Y'all!

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