We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Linda's Favorite Cheesecake

by Linda

  
   I remember very well the day that the executive chef at the Los Olivos Grand Hotel presented me with a letter from Gourmet magazine. It seems that a customer had been to dinner at our restaurant, Remington's (now defunct), and loved the cheesecake so much that she wrote and requested the recipe.

My friend, Rebekah, begins the decorating with fresh raspberries.
   It is truly one of the best cheesecakes that I, and so I have been told on many occasions, many others have ever tasted. It is not too sweet, creamy and delicious. I love it with the fresh raspberries and homemade raspberry sauce. It is a perfect dessert to make for the holidays, not only because of the colors, but because it can be baked two days ahead of the event. At the time that Gourmet requested the recipe, I chose not to share it... silly me! I share it now as a holiday gift from the Salvation Sisters to you.



Linda's Favorite Cheesecake

For the crust:
3/4 cup coarsely ground walnuts
3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers
3 Tbsps melted, unsalted butter




For the filling:
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
4 extra large eggs
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsps vanilla extract


For the topping:
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Special equipment:
A 9 or 10-inch springform pan

Garnish:
Fresh fruit, such as raspberries or blueberries
A sauce, such as fresh raspberry
Whipped cream



Procedure:
1. To preheat the oven: Arrange two oven racks so one sits in the middle of the oven and the other at the highest position. Place a cookie sheet on the top rack (it will shield the cheesecake and prevent it from over browning). Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. To make the crust: combine walnuts, graham crumbs and butter. Press compactly onto bottom of springform pan. A measuring cup with a flat bottom is great for this purpose. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
3. To make the filling: In a large bowl, using a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture over the baked crust.
4. Set the springform pan on a baking sheet to catch any butter that may seep during baking. Bake a 9-inch cake for 50 to 55 minutes and a 10-inch cake for 40 to 45 minutes. The cake will rise and crack in several areas; do not worry... it will settle again, cracks will minimize and the topping will smooth the surface.
5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Retain oven temperature at 350°F.
6. To make the topping: combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract and blend with a spoon or whisk. Do not over stir! Spoon topping over the cheesecake, starting at the center and extending to within 1/2-inch of the edge (it will eventually run over the sides). Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack, then refrigerate cheesecake for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days. Before putting in the refrigerator, press plastic wrap to the surface so that the top of the cheesecake will not dry out. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and springform pan. Use a knife to lift the cheesecake from the base of the springform pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving for best flavor, about one hour.
7. Delicious served with fresh fruit and a fruit sauce, especially raspberry. Decorate with whipped cream or as desired.


6 comments:

  1. There is no such thing as a bad cheesecake, but there certainly is such a thing as a GREAT one. This one looks delicious and that pastry bag wreath design around the finished dessert sets it off beautifully. This recipe looks so much like the one I used when I had a restaurant in Santa Cruz and I like the idea of the sauce over the fresh fruit. One of these days, I kid you not, I am inviting myself to dinner at your house. '-)

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  2. Linda, I worship you.

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  3. Such high praise, Ladies! Thank you!! Our little labor of love and devotion to good food and drink keeps chugging along. It truly is a thrill to know that we are achieving our goal in sharing our passion and history with our friends. As always... thank you for your comments. They are very much appreciated!

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  4. Hi Linda! It's April, Patty's daughter :) We tried this recipe for New Year's Eve -- it was delicious! But somehow ours didn't come out quite as thick and creamy as I was hoping -- the consistency was a little off. Do you have any tricks or tips for next time? Maybe it needed to be blended better? Or cooked longer? Inquiring minds want to know!

    And ... I am loving your blog!!

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  5. Also -- just pondering this more -- ours didn't rise as much as yours did in the photo. Hmmm!

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  6. Hi April... In trying to diagnose what happened with your cheesecake from the info you provided, I can only guess that possibly the cream cheese, eggs and sugar might need to have been beaten a little more. The cream cheese should be at room temp before beginning, and mixture is pretty loose by the time I add the lemon juice and vanilla. In baking the mixture, I set the spring form pan on a cookie sheet and then shield it with another cookie sheet over the top on the upper rack. I use the baking time suggested as a guide for baking. I do not take it out of the oven until it looks like the photo that I showed above. The cake needs to poof up and have cracks, or it is not done, and will not set properly. I hope this helps.

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