easy peasy cherry cheesecake

i am totally getting into the holiday spirit! it’s been so rainy and cold here in the northwest that i’ve been baking way more than usual; experimenting with some new recipes for the upcoming holidays and revisiting old favorites. the following cheesecake recipe would fall under the “old favorites” heading. when i first started baking, cheesecake recipes always seemed so daunting. they instruct you to wrap your pan in foil so your crust won’t burn, beat your egg whites separate from the yolks for a fluffier batter, and to place your pan in a water bath so your cake won’t crack on top. i’m not discounting these methods. depending on the type of cheesecake you’re baking, be it a new york style or light and creamy, many of these instructions go far in creating a wonderful cheesecake. but, as a creamy cheesecake lover, once i created this super easy recipe, i never went back to the more complicated recipes in my cookbooks. i hope it becomes a “go to” recipe for you as well. it would be a nice addition to your thanksgiving dessert table.

cherry cheesecake (makes one 9″ cake- about 8 slices) 

for the cheesecake:
2 -8 oz packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

for the crust:
1 stick of butter (melted)
1/4 cup sugar
1 whole sleeve of graham crackers (crushed to crumbs)

for cherry topping:
2 cups of fresh or frozen pitted cherries (if using frozen…defrost and drain)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 heaping teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with 3 teaspoons water

preheat oven to 350 degrees.
mix all ingredients for crust together and press into a 9″ springform pan. bake for 8 minutes and set aside to cool.
in an electric mixture, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time until batter is smooth and creamy.
pour the batter into the cooled graham cracker crust and bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes. (your cake should puff up a little and be void of wet spots on the top)
let your cheesecake cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. (your cake will deflate slightly)
while your cake is in the oven, you can make your cherry topping…
in a saucepan on medium heat, add the cherries, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. cook until the cherries release their juice and come up to a gentle bubble. stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook until the liquid thickens. remove from the heat and let cool completely.
once both the cake and the cherries are cool, spoon the cherry topping onto your cheesecake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
release carefully from the springform pan and serve! (on a pretty plate, of course!)

 

this cheesecake is so easy and versatile. you can use different varieties of fruit if you’re not a cherry fan. strawberries, blueberries, and lemon curd are all great substitutes. by adding 6 oz of melted chocolate (wait for it to cool) to the batter and using fresh whipped cream as a topper, you can transform it all together to a creamy, chocolate lover’s dream. just like i did in creating this easy to make cheesecake, you can experiment with the recipe and make it your own. baking can be a little challenging sometimes but with all the failures come many successes as well. and let’s face it, the failures are usually still good enough to eat!

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About jentarantino

i went to culinary school back in the mid 90's where i soon discovered that most of my favorite things to eat begin with celery, carrots and onions; or at the very least, one of the three. i cooked professionally for a very short time, but never stopped being a "home cook". i used the skills i acquired in school to teach myself to bake and kept up on food trends by becoming addicted to cooking shows and food magazines. i will eventually open my own soup shop, but until that happens, this blog will be my culinary outlet. i hope it inspires you to... stand lovingly over a simmering pot, wait anxiously for rising bread dough, frost cupcakes with care, marinate, brine, and most importantly... make it yourself!
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