Very Best Cheesecake
As much as the meatloaf was the husband’s Valentine’s gift from me, the dessert from Valentine’s Day was a gift to both of us and our girls. It is the Very Best Cheesecake.
Everyone in our family loves cheesecake. I am convinced that the love of cheesecake was passed to me in utero. As I recall the story, when my mother was pregnant with me she craved cherry cheesecake. My dad would get a Sara Lee cherry cheesecake to share with her and to satiate her craving. She would sneak into the kitchen and have a piece, and then another and another…and before she even realized it she had eaten the entire cheesecake. In her defense (according to her) they were very small cheesecakes. My father realized that the cost of these cheesecakes was prohibitive to the amount of her cravings and so he found a recipe on the side of a graham cracker box.
That recipe was lost over time, and according to my parents they spent a great deal of time trying to replicate that recipe. When they finally found it they made sure to write it down and make copies. In fact, the recipe made it into the “family” cookbook that my parents created for each of their four children in the early ‘90’s. This is the very same recipe that my mother still makes for me every year on my birthday. It is The Very Best Cheesecake.
This is not only the Very Best Cherry Cheesecake, it is so simple! This recipe is one of the testaments to scratch baking. It is easy and tastes exponentially better than a boxed mix or frozen cheesecake, without being cost prohibitive.
Oh, and I love this cheesecake after it has been refrigerated for a day or two. The crust caramelizes a little bit and tastes even better.
Take the opportunity to make this cheesecake the next time you have a craving for cheesecake or want to make a special dessert for the people you love the most, including yourself.
The Very Best Cheesecake
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup sugar
- 8 Tablespoons melted butter
- 2 8- ounce packages cream cheese softened
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1- pound can sour red cherries drained, liquid reserved
- Cherry liquid plus enough water to equal ¾ cup liquid
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix crust ingredients and pat firmly into the bottom and sides of a pie plate. Beat filling ingredients with an electric mixer until satiny; pour into crust. Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees; remove from oven. Mix sugar for topping with cornstarch into a saucepan; gradually blend in cherry liquid and heat, stirring, until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. After removing from heat stir in lemon juice and cherries. Cool 5 minutes and spread on top of cooled cheesecake. Chill several hours.