Contributed by Don Lipps, North Mankato

If you’re looking for a quick and easy cheesecake you’ll probably want to keep looking. If, on the other hand, you’re a perfectionist who enjoys hearing your family say that cheesecake place is not nearly as good as yours then this is your recipe!

After years of experimentation and comparing recipes, here’s what I’ve come up with. The addition of steam and slow, careful, cooling prevents the top from cracking.

Servings: 12
Prep Time: Don’t ask!

Ingredients

  • 1 sleeve graham crackers (1 cup crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons softened or melted and cooled butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 8oz packages full fat cream cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  • Bring cream cheese, butter, sour cream and eggs to room temperature (about 2 hours)
  • Crumble graham crackers until fine and even.
  • Mix crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, almond extract and butter and press onto bottom of buttered 9-inch springform pan. Optionally line with parchment paper and/or cardboard for easy removal. Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes or until crust just begins to brown. Set aside until cooled.
  • Mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until just well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition. Mix the minimum amount necessary. Blend in sour cream by hand. Pour over cooled crust.
  • Situate oven racks so that cheesecake will be in the center of the oven and one rack is below it. Place shallow pan on lower rack. Preheat oven to 400. Boil a full teakettle of water. When water is boiled pour into shallow pan.
  • Bake cheesecake at 400 for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 220 and bake for additional 85 minutes. Do not open oven after cheesecake has been put inside.
  • Turn off oven and prop door open. Let cheesecake cool in place for one hour.
  • Remove cheesecake from oven and place on cooling rack. Run thin knife around rim of pan to loosen cake. Let cool completely, about two hours. Leave the springform pan in place for now.
  • Chill cheesecake in refrigerator uncovered without removing spring form pan at least 4 hours but preferably over night.
  • Remove spring form pan. Cut with a water-warmed knife between each slice. Cheesecake is best if warmed to room temperature but can be served cold.
  • Drizzle with freshly made fruit sauce, chocolate sauce, caramel or whatever you like. Garnish if desired.

Cheesecake Options

  • Use the springform pan to trace a circle on a piece of parchment paper and a piece of cardboard. Cut both out. Put the cardboard in the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper on top before preparing the crust. This enables your cheesecake to be much more portable.
  • Chocolate New York Cheesecake: Substitute 1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs for graham cracker crumbs. Blend 4 squares baking semi-sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled, into batter before adding sour cream.