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ULTIMATE CHEESECAKE

ULTIMATE CHEESECAKE

 

 

For the Crust

2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares) 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a tiny dash of  1 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened (must be softened completely) 3 eggs, room temperature. (If they’re cold, don’t bother waiting for them to get to room temperature. Just place them in a warm water bath 15 min before using and they should be ready to go.) 1 cup sugar, and a tablespoon or so of All Purpose Flour 1 pint sour cream (or yogurt, flavored or not) 1 lemon, zested

1 dash vanilla extract - As much as you would like to use

 

Grind up the graham crackers.  Use a food processor or a ziplock bag and a glass to get them evenly ground.

Melt the stick of butter in a microwave-safe bowl; 30-40 seconds should do it. If there are lumps of butter still bobbing around, stir the solid butter pieces into the warm melted butter before nuking it further. You don’t want to overheat it.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened.  Press into a spring-form pan, evenly along the bottom and about halfway up the sides.  Bake at 375F for around 10-15 minutes, you want it to be fragrant but not super crisp.

Put a roasting pan of boiling water in the oven, make sure the pan is large enough to accommodate your spring-form pan, and not too much so it spills in the oven when you put the cheesecake in it.  Tear off a single piece of aluminum foil large enough to fit around the bottom and most of the sides of the spring-form pan, since we do not want the crust getting wet from the water bath.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for one to two minutes until smooth and free of any lumps. Scrape down the sides. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat slowly until combined, scraping down the sides before each addition. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy for two minutes.  

Zest the lemon onto a plate, then add the sour cream (or yogurt), lemon zest, flour, and vanilla.  At the stage, you can add some Chambord, Kahlua, Bailey's of any flavor, or Amaretto to the mix for extra flavor.

Pour into prepared spring-form pan, place foil around pan, and set in roasting pan of water in the oven.  Bake for around 45-60 minutes, based on how your oven performs (could be 80 minutes, but do not overcook).  You want a slight jiggle in the middle.  Turn off the oven, open the door a little.  Remove from water bath around 15 minutes, allow to cool in slightly open oven until you forget about it.  Put in refrigerator overnight, use a knife dipped in hot water to cut.  Can be topped with any fruit topping if desired, jam works in a pinch.

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