Real Deal Cheesecake you Can Actually Make. Yes, you.
I am not exactly what I would consider a "baker."
We may have touched on this once before but I'm basically terrified of baking recipes. There's measuring and timing that I don't necessarily have to do when I cook savory food. Ingredients I often don't have handy, because I don't have much of a sweet tooth. And the most serious predicament of all... WHAT IF IT COMES OUT TERRIBLE?!
I made a pecan pie cheesecake that I saw on Delish two years ago, and as much as it was very different for me, and probably took me way longer than it was supposed to, it did turn out pretty good! The next year I made a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake with a homemade whipped cream topping and I guess that means, I feel comfortable making cheesecakes and toppings that involve heavy cream. Things that I can use in my regular dishes.
This year we tried this really good eggnog cheesecake! I made the filling and the crust, had it all set to bake and then read that it had to be made in water. WATER. A "water bath." What the eff. As if I wasn't already so intimidated by the idea of baking, now I had to go full bakery and water bathe my cheesecake. I was fully prepared for it to suck so bad and the damn thing turned out to be of this world good!
Eggnog cheesecake is great during the holidays, but I don't even know if you can buy eggnog at the store otherwise? Anyways, I got to thinking, "What if I just replace the 'nog with heavy cream and vanilla extract?" You'll get the creamy, you'll get the texture, just add the vanilla to add some flavor to the heavy cream and it can't go wrong right?
RIGHT PEOPLE. I know Matt tells me I'm always right but this one I knocked out of the park, so I'm here to tell you, that you too, can water bathe a cheesecake in your home and it will be like a slice of creamy heaven in your mouth. So here we go, this is how she rolls out.
First things first you make the crust. Smashed graham crackers. If you're me (a mom, and also a mess) you probably have a sleeve of them stuffed into a bag or area in your car to smash into bits and press into the bottom of a spring form pan. 2 cups. Melt 3 1/2 TBSP of butter in a dish. Then grab 1/4 CUP of regular sugar. Mix up the grahams and the sugar first, then add in the butter. It'll get a littler clumpy, take your spring form pan and press it down smooth and even across the bottom. Some people like a little crust on the sides, if you are one of those people, simply spread it up the pan, but be careful not to pull too much away from the bottom. You could even be so inclined to add a 1/2 CUP of smashed grahams to the mix for some side crust.
After you make the crust, wrap the bottom, up the sides with aluminum foil, pop it in the oven at 350 and cook it for 8-10 minutes. During that time make your filling. 32oz of cream cheese. Yes. Four things of cream cheese. 1+1/3 of sugar, 3/4 CUP of heavy cream, and 2 TBSP of vanilla extract. Mix it alllllllll together.
Crust is done, take it out and let it cool for a few minutes, reducing oven temp to 300 degrees. The next step, is to beat 4 eggs in a separate bowl, and add it to the filling mix. Stir it in with a spatula, not an electric beater. Fill your crusted pan with the filling. Get a roasting pan, OR a high-sided baking sheet, and fill it with an inch or so of boiling hot water. Set your pan in the center and cook it for 1 hour. After the hour passes, turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
Once the hour has passed, pat yourself on the back for NOT opening the oven door, even though it's really, really hard to do that. Remove your beautiful cheesecake, and let it cool in the fridge for 4 hours. The favorite topping in our house so far has been melted chocolate fudge drizzled all over the top with raspberries, but you can try anything you like.
Eat up! xo
1. 32 oz. of softened cream cheese
2. Two CUPS of crushed honey graham crackers
3. 1 1/3 CUP sugar (for filling)
4. 3/4 CUP heavy whipping cream
5. 2 TBSP vanilla extract
6. 4 large eggs
7. 1/4 CUP sugar (for crust)
8. 5 TBSP melted butter
1. Make the crust. Turn your oven on to 350 degrees. You can buy pre-smashed graham crackers, or you can smash them yourself with a rolling pin, a muddler or my favorite a ziplock bag and the prickly side of a meat tenderizer.
2. Stir in the granulated sugar, make sure you get it blended well, so it's evenly sweet.
3. Add the melted butter and mix around. It will get clump, that's fine.
4. Press the clumpy graham cracker/butter mix into a well sprayed spring-form pan. I recommend a cooking spray for baking. Not because it works better, because there's a little butter in it that will help make the crust moist. (ew)
5. Wrap your pan with tin foil. This is for the water bathe part, but that pan is going to be hot and you won't want to be wrapping it at any point after you bake it.
6. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes in the oven.
7. While the crust bakes, mix your filling of cream cream, sugar, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract.
8. Remove the crust from the over, turn oven temp down to 300 degrees and let the pan cool off for 3-5 minutes.
9. BEFORE adding the filling to the pan, in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together, pour into the filling mix and stir it together.
10. Get your roasting pan, fill it with an inch or two of boiling water.
11. Place your cheesecake center of the pan, BAKE for 1 hour, or if you have a convection oven like I do 45 minutes.
12. Turn off oven and leave the cheesecake inside the roasting pan, inside the oven. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
13. After the hour goes by, congratulate yourself for not opening the door, remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan of water and let cool in the fridge for 4 hours or more, but not less.
14. Top with your favorite cheesecake topping. So far our favorite is melted chocolate fudge and fresh raspberries. We'll be trying Carmel next.
15. Enjoy! xo