suzy’s first cheesecakebecause i only had five recipes planned for this weekend’s cooking session

-green bean casserole (yep, he asked for a repeat),
-crab cakes (as per previously discussed obsession),
-mushroom soup (see above),
-spaghetti carbonara (which i haven’t made yet, but which you will certainly hear about), and
-browned mashed potatoes (see above)

i decided that it was time to try my hand at a dessert. ever since receiving my copy of Garlic and Sapphires, i’ve been dying to try her recipe for cheesecake:

New York Cheesecake

1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs (about 6 oz)
1 c sugar
1/2 c melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese at room temperature
4 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
Grated zest of one lemon
2 c sour cream

-preheat oven to 350
-mix graham crackers with 1/4 c sugar and the melted butter and press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch ungreased springform pan. chill while preparing filling
-beat cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar, eggs, 2 tsp vanilla and lemon zest until smooth
-pour into chilled crust and bake 50 min to an hour, or until the cheese is set and starting to turn golden in spots
-remove from oven (leave oven on) and cool for about 15 min on wire rack
-stir together sour cream, remaining 1/4 c sugar, remaining tsp vanill and spread over cooled cake. return to oven for 12 min until glossy and set
-cool completely, cover, and chill at least 8 hours

now, for starters and as usual, i didn’t end up following this line for line. i don’t have a springform pan, of course, nor can i afford one. so i bought a 9″ graham cracker “ready-crust” from the supermarket, and skipped the whole crust making part.

apparently, a 9″ ready-crust is not nearly as deep as a 9″ springform pan, because i had twice too much filling. god only knows what i am going to do with the extra — probably attempt to bake it in a loaf-pan and claim it is custard. that’s what i normally do with extra pie-filling anyway…

so that was the first glitch.

glitch number two came with the topping. so my pie was already to the top of the crust. no room for sour cream topping at all. so i have those ingredients still hanging around. maybe i will put them on top of the “custard”?

glitch number three wasn’t so much a glitch as impatience on my part. i now entirely understand that last instruction — “cool, cover, and chill for at least 8 hours”. warm cheesecake is… well, weird. there’s no other way to describe it. i got impatient and took a tiny slice, and it was the strangest tasting thing with the most bizarre texture i have ever eaten.

actually that was glitch number four. glitch number three was (as you can see above) life intervening and calling me away from my oven when there was still 30 min left on the timer. now, i have an oven that automatically turns itself off after bake time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still hot in there. so when i returned from my unexpected 40 minute diversion, i found that, well, it had got past that whole “turning golden in spots” part.

ah well. i had a teensy tiny sliver this morning, and it tasted fabulous! it’s not too sweet, which is my usual criticism of cheesecake, and the texture now that it’s cold is, well, cheese-cakey.

and that, my friends, is the story of suzy’s first cheesecake.