Cheesecake

With the holidays here, I decided to bake a dessert that I have not made in quite a while.  Going through my old recipes, I came across this delicious cheesecake.  This year I made it for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit.  My mother got this recipe from a friend of hers years ago and handed it down to me.  This is a great recipe that can be made in a variety of ways.  I have added crushed pineapples to the cake before baking it, which is always a favorite in our house.  Or, you can serve it topped with cherries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries.

Photo by Lina Widjaja of Crustables.

Photo by Lina Widjaja of Crustables.

Photo by Lina Widjaja of Crustables.

Photo by Lina Widjaja of Crustables.

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Nut Crust

1 ¾ cup fine graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup  finely chopped walnuts

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ cup melted margarine or butter

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until moistened.  Reserve 3 Tbsp. of mixture.  Press remaining mixture in the bottom and 2 ½ inches up sides of a greased 10”spring form pan.

Mixing the crust.  Photo by Kona Gallagher

Mixing the crust. Photo by Kona Gallagher

Cheesecake:

3     eggs

2    8 oz packages of cream cheese softened

1 cup  sugar

¼ tsp  salt

2 tsp  vanilla

1 tsp  almond extract

3 cups  sour cream

1  capful of rum or brandy (optional)

1  can of cherries or blueberries in syrup (optional)

1    can crushed pineapples, drained (optional, see note)

Combine sugar and cream cheese; beat until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat well until smooth.  Blend in sour cream.  Add the capful of rum or brandy if using.  Pour mixture into prepared graham cracker crust and top with reserved crumbs if desired.  

Note: Pineapples can be spread over the graham cracker crust before pouring in the cheesecake mixture.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the cheesecake into the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until set.  Oven temperatures will vary, so your cake may take longer to bake.  To test for doneness, stick a toothpick in the middle.  It will come out clean when cake is done.  The cake should still have a little wiggle in it; do not overbake.  Once the cheesecake is done, let it sit for a few hours.  Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen it, then undo spring form and remove.  Cool the cake in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, or overnight, before serving.

A finished cheesecake. Photo via Wikimedia

A finished cheesecake. Photo via Wikimedia

You can serve the cheesecake as-is or top it with cherries or berries in their syrup.

Topped with cherries. Image via Ken's Oven

Topped with cherries. Image via Ken’s Oven

I hope you enjoy this most delicious dessert!

Cover image via Better Homes and Gardens