You are probably thinking, “How are you writing about cheese cake on an Italian food blog, considering that the most famous cheese cakes were created in New York?!? In the USA!” The answer is: “YOU ARE RIGHT!”… but the first cheese cakes were actually made in ancient Greece, before the time of Christ by the Romans. Regardless, even if it never occurred to you, many Italians look around to pick up on other countries’ food traditions (and I, for sure, am one of those Italians!). And as I have already mentioned, I think Italians have many things to learn from Americans!”
By the way, this recipe has been in my recipe book forever, so I’m not sure exactly where it comes from or its true historical origin.
What I know for sure is that once you really like a certain dish, you try many alternative ways to make it, and become a connoisseur of sorts. So even if I believe this cheese cake is SUPER DUPER DELICIOUS, I don’t have the vanity to say that it is the best of all cheese cakes ever. But, if you enjoy cheesecake, I humbly beg you to try out this recipe- you will not be disappointed! And, if you would leave me feedback after trying it, I would greatly appreciate it!!
Making this cheese cake takes three steps, and about one hour of cooking: first preparing the base; second, preparing the cheese cake batter, then last to bake it. Easy, pretty fast, and foolproof!
INGREDIENTS for a 12″ round cake (10-12 servings)
2 packs graham crackers (or other plain butter cookies)
2 blocks of cream cheese (8 oz each, softened)
1 pint (473 ml) heavy whipping cream
4 oz. or 1/2 cup sugar
1 stick melted unsalted butter
3 tbs. all-purpose flour
canned cherries (or chocolate or caramel) for garnishing
For the crust :
Put the crackers or cookies into a food processor bowl, and pulse until finely ground.
Move the ground crackers into a mixing bowl and add the melted butter. Knead by hand to allow the butter to be evenly absorbed, but expect the mixture to remain grainy.
Line a 12-inch diameter round pan with parchment paper. (Ideally, use a spring-form pan, where the sides release from the base.) Then press the cracker-crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan, flattening it evenly.
For the cream:
Whip the whipping cream and save it for later (remember to keep it refrigerated!)
Separate the three eggs yolks from the whites and, using an electric whisk, whip the whites until stiff (keep the whites aside for later).
With the same electric whisk (no need to rinse), beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they become fluffy and shiny.
Incorporate the cream cheese using an electric mixer. (I use a hand mixer with a rigid wire whisk/ beater, like those in the picture below, but if you are using a flimsy/ flexible electric whisk, you will need to switch to a more rigid whisk/ beater.)
Now fold in the egg whites- by hand, always gently and from the bottom to the top, to avoid the cream becoming watery.
Finally fold in the whipped cream, always stirring gently. Finally- only at the end- you stir in the sifted flour.
To arrange the cake:
Spread the cream evenly on top of the graham cracker crust.
Bake in preheated oven at 320 F. (160 C.).
After 20 minutes, increase the temperature to 365 F (180 C.) and bake until the cake rises and becomes golden.
Let the cheese cake cool completely. Release the sides of the spring-form pan, then carefully peel off the parchment paper and arrange the cake on a nice dish.
Garnish it with whatever you like- canned cherries or other fruit, jam, syrup, caramel, or melted chocolate.
Refrigerate at least a couple of hours before serving.
Serve the cake cold or at room temperature, according to your taste (my family likes it better cold).
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
Tips: – Since this cheese cake is rich in taste and calories, I suggest serving it in small slices. You may have the occasional friend who asks for a second slice, but most will be satisfied with just a little bit of this decadent dessert.
– This cheese cake, if kept refrigerated, tastes even better the day after (so don’t hesitate to make it in advance) and can last up to a week. I would discourage freezing it, because the cream cheese tends to change consistency and ruin the taste.
I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,
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