July 30th is National Cheesecake Day! Take the time today to enjoy a slice. Stop by the store to pick one up, or stay tuned for a recipe to try at home!
The cheesecake is thought to have gotten its start in Ancient Greece. The earliest mention of a cheesecake is by the Greek physician Aegimus in a book he wrote on the art of making cheesecakes. However, a more modern version called a sambocade (pictured left), made with elderflower and rose water, can be found in Forme of Cury, an English cookbook from 1390. This has led to chef Heston Blumenthal to argue that the cheesecake is actually an English invention. The name cheesecake has been used since the 1400s; however, the cheesecake as we know it did not evolve until the 1700s when Europeans began removing yeast from the recipe and replacing it with beaten eggs instead. Modern cheesecake now comes in two forms: the regular baked cheesecake, and the unbaked cream cheese cheesecake on graham cracker crust that was invented in the United States.
Prep: 15 minutes
Inactive: 8 hours
Cook: 1 hour and 10 minutes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch fine salt
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups sour cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
- For the crust: Melt the butter, covered in the microwave, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, or a saucepan. Brush a 9-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan, taking care to get the crust evenly into the edges. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool. Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan with foil and put in a roasting pan.
- For the filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat just until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Slowly beat in the sour cream, then eggs, vanilla and both citrus zests; take care not to over whip. Pour into the cooled crust.
- Bring a medium saucepan or kettle of water to a boil. Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don’t pull the rack out of the oven). Pour in enough hot water to come about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes—the outside of the cake will set but the center will still be loose.
- For the topping: Stir together the sour cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Spread over the top of the cooked cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven off, cook the cheesecake in the residual heat in the oven for about 1 hour. This gentle finish minimizes the risk of the dreaded crack in your cheesecake.
- Remove cheesecake from the roasting pan to a rack. Run a knife around the edges and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Bring cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Remove the springform ring. Dip a knife in warm water, wipe dry before slicing each piece. Serve with berries, if desired.
Recipe taken from Food Network.
Prep: 20 minutes
Inactive: 8 hours and 20 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12-14 full sheet graham crackers)
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
three 8-ounce blocks full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the crust: Stir the graham cracker crust ingredients together. Pour into a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan and pack in very tightly. The tighter it’s packed, the less likely it will fall apart when cutting the cheesecake. I recommend using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it into the bottom and up the sides. You can watch me do this in the video above. Freeze for 10-20 minutes as you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy cream into stiff peaks on medium-high speed, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium speed until perfectly smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the confectioners’ sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Beat for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed until smooth and combined. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese. If there are lumps, keep beating until smooth.
- Using your mixer on low speed or a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake filling until combined. This takes several turns of your rubber spatula. Combine slowly as you don’t want to deflate all the air in the whipped cream.
- Remove crust from the freezer and spread filling into crust. Use an offset spatula to smooth down the top.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours and up to 2 days. For best results, 12 hours is best. I chill mine overnight. The longer refrigerated, the nicer the no-bake cheesecake will set up.
- Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean between each slice.
- Serve cheesecake with desired toppings. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipe taken from Sally’s Baking Addiction.