I’m not very fond of sugary sweetness, but I do like creamy (fatty) desserts. Cheesecake is one of my favorites. In college I used to post a sign-up sheet shaped like a cheesecake cut into slices, and when all the pieces were claimed, make the cake in the dorm kitchen and deliver for $4 per slice. Now I make them when I have extra time, freeze, and take out when I need to come up with something delicious on the spur of the moment to share with friends. Fatty desserts freeze well. With a good arm, you can even slice a cheesecake that’s fresh out of the freezer, and put it back for later. By the way, I’ve cut down on the sugar–add some back if you like. I recommend that all cheesecakes be served with whipped cream as an option.
I buy a big 3 lb block of cream cheese and either use the whole thing to make two 9″ cakes, or two pounds to make one 10″ one. This recipe is for two cakes.
(I usually don’t keep on hand graham cracker crumbs, the mainstay of most cheesecake crusts–they’re expensive and go stale. To heck with that–this crust is homemade, and tastes so good, you’ll eat it too.)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 egg yolk (2 if they’re small)
Take the bottom off the springform pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the above ingredients together with a fork and then with your hands (or a nearby child’s hands) until it starts to hold together. Don’t knead it or it will be tough.
Press about half the mix onto the pan bottom. Place on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, then cool on a rack. Put the pan back together, and press the rest of the dough up the sides of the pan. It will only reach part way. It may be yummy, but who wants to eat lots of crust, anyway?
In a pan or in the microwave, melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 4 Tbsp whipping cream until spreadable. Spread over the bottom and sides of the crust.
Turn the oven to 475 degrees F.
- 2 lbs softened full-fat cream cheese
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 6 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
In a large bowl (standing mixer works best), beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, salt, whipping cream and 2 eggs until smooth. Add remaining eggs and yolks and mix well. Choose a variation, below:
- Pour about two thirds of the batter into the crust. Melt more chocolate (bittersweet, semi, to taste and stir into the rest, then spoon it onto the plain batter in globs, gently swirl with a knife to make a pattern. Or melt more and stir into the whole batter for a uniform chocolate cheesecake. A bit of strong espresso is good here too.
- Sprinkle the top of the cheesecake with sliced or chopped almonds, hazelnuts, or macadamias.
- Make a sweet-tart raspberry sauce thickened with cornstarch, and swirl into the plain batter
- Add 1 tsp vanilla for a plain cheesecake, to be served with or without toppings.
Cover the top of the pans with foil and bake in the 475 degree oven for 25 minutes (20 in convection oven). For one cake in a regular oven, make it 20 minutes (convection 15-17 minutes).
Uncover the cake, reduce heat to 300 degrees, and bake 1 hour more (50 minutes in convection).
Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecakes in with the door partly open for 15 minutes. Remove onto cooling rack and run a sharp knife around the edges. Cover and refrigerate when cool.
To freeze, cut cardboard circles the size of the cheesecakes, cover with foil (from the top of the cake), remove pan sides & loosen the cheesecake bottom with a metal spatula, then slide it onto the cardboard circle (the crust will be firm enough with the chocolate). Cover with foil and/or plastic wrap, put in a large zip plastic or similar bag, label & freeze.