Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Cheesecake Factory Original Cheesecake

Jim LOVES cheesecake, when his birthday rolls around every year, and I ask him what kind of cake he would like, he ALWAYS picks cheesecake. This was fine by me since I love cheesecake too, and I had this recipe that I had been wanting to try. I love eating at the Cheesecake factory, and every cheesecake I have sampled from them has been oh so delicioso!!!! So I figured this recipe wouldn't disappoint me. And I was right, it didn't!! You know how some cheesecakes turn out heavy, and cakey, and you can't finish your piece because you've just had enough?? Well this one wasn't like that, it was creamy, and even tho' it was a baked cheesecake it was light, and you could finish the whole piece and have another!! I got this recipe out of Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes Book 2. And I baked my cheesecake in a water bath like he suggests. I think it helps the cheesecake stay moist, and prevents cracking. I also recommend a good spring form pan for baking cheesecakes. I found one at a garage sale a long time ago, but have since bought a new one, and have loved them both. You can top this cheesecake with any fruit topping or the recipe said to mix 1/2 cup sour cream and two teaspoons granualted sugar and use that as your topping. Jim chose to use canned blueberry pie filling, and I also tried a blackberry sauce that I had leftover in my freezer, and it was yummo too!! No matter how you top it,  this is now my new favorite Cheesecake recipe!

The Cheesecake Factory Original Cheesecake
For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs ( I used 1 cellophane package of graham crackers, and smashed with a rolling pin, ended up being slightly more than what was called for but that's okay, I used them all)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

For the Cheesecake filling:
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, brought to room temperature
1-1/4 cups granulated  sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 eggs

Your choice of fruit topping
or you can top with 1/2 cup sour cream combined with 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Canned whipped cream

Preheat heat oven to 475 degrees.
Fill a large baking pan or oven safe skillet with about an inch of water. I used an aluminum roasting pan.

It has to be big enough for your cheesecake pan to fit inside of. Place this with the water in it, inside the oven while it preheats. This is your water bath.
Wrap a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil around the bottom of your spring form cheesecake pan to prevent water from seeping into your cheesecake while baking in the water bath. I fold up so it comes up all the way on every side of the pan.
First of all make the crust by melting the 1/3 cup butter in a medium size microwave safe bowl, in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then add the cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon. Stir to combine with a fork. Then dump the crumbs into your spring form pan, you can spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Press crumbs onto the bottom and about 2/3's of the way up the sides of the pan. I like to use a glass or measuring cup to press mine into the pan.
Then place crust into the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Blend on medium speed for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy. You will need to stop mixing and scrape the sides, and any cream cheese off the paddle after the first minute, and then continue. That way you won't have lumps. In another small bowl, whisk the eggs together. Then add them to the creamed mixture, and blend the mixture just enough to mix in the eggs completely. You don't want to over mix.
Remove your crust from the freezer and pour the filling into it, scraping the bowl as you go.
Carefully place the cheesecake into your preheated water bath. Bake for 12 minutes at the 475 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color and it's mostly set. Carefully remove from oven and water bath and cool.
When cheesecake has cooled for about an hour, remove the sides of your spring form pan and continue cooling in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Slice and top each slice with your choice of fruit topping and whipped cream ! Enjoy!!

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