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What better way to relaunch the website than on National Cheesecake Day?

Yes, July 30th is National Cheesecake Day.  When I realized it was coming up, I also realized that I had never posted my cheesecake recipe on the blog.  Sure, I’ve done some cheesecakes, but never *the* cheesecake recipe that always gets lot of compliments no matter when I make it.

How good is this recipe?  Even non-cheesecake lovers (yes, I was sad to learn such people exists too!) like this cheesecake.  Perfect blend of cream cheese to sugar, and a texture that is out of this world.

The biggest compliment that I received about this cheesecake was from a couple that lives in New York City (a city famous for it’s cheesecake).  Living in NYC, they had been exposed to the city’s best cheesecakes.  In their opinion, my cheesecake was as good, if not better, than anything they had tasted in NYC!  I’ll take a compliment like that any day!

Cheesecake

4oz graham cracker crumbs (1 cup)
1 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp melted butter, plus 1 tsp for greasing pan

2 1/2pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (about 45-60 minutes)
1/8 tsp salt
10 1/2oz sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
6 eggs

  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom of 9″ springform pan with 1 tsp melted butter. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Spray a flat bottomed drinking glass with cooking spray (Pam) and press crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  • Bring 1 quart of water to boil while making the cheesecake filling.
  • In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.
  • Wrap the springform pan in a double cover of aluminum foil.  Set springform pan in a roasting pan. Pour filling into cooled crust, place in oven, and pour boiling water into the roasting pan, coming no more than 1/2 way up the springform pan.
  • Bake for 2 hours, or until center of cheesecake registers 160 degrees.  Remove pan from water bath and remove foil  from pan.  Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)

To serve: remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Notes:

  • Make sure you use use 18″ side aluminum foil, and not the 12″ wide. With the 12″ wide, you will have a seam that will let in water
  • As with all cheesecakes, don’t cook it until it looks done, or you will over cook it. The residue heat from the cheesecake itself will continue to cook it even after you take it out of the oven

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Strawberry Daiquiri

Strawberry Daiquiri

In my early-20′s, I usually burned out a blender a year, making strawberry daiquiris.  The blenders where the cheapest I could buy, and the daiquiris were made with the Bacardi mixers with a LOT of rum mixed in.  So went many a summer night of my youth.

I never had a REAL strawberry daiquiri until a few years ago, when I ended up in Hawaii on business.  The bartender made the daiquiri from scratch, right at the bar.  I thought it was pretty cool to watch, but nothing matched the taste of the daiquiri.  As far as strawberry daiquiris go, I was a new man.  Now I REALLY look forward to strawberries being in season for the many blender-fulls of daiquiris that I know will be coming as soon as the weekend gets here (or sooner, if I decide to be impatient, which has happened from time to time)

I searched for strawberry daiquiri recipes, and they all seem to have the same ingredients, just different measurements.  The strangest ingredient I saw was the lemon-lime soda, but they all seemed to have it.  I found out that it actually does make the daiquiri, as I ended up making a blender-full of them without it; believe me when I saw you need the lemon-lime soda in the daiquiri. [continued after the jump...]

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Limoncello

Limoncello

In ancient Greek mythology, ambrosia was reported to be the nectar of the gods.  That being said, it’s pretty obvious that the ancient Greek gods never had limoncello, or ambrosia would have a different title.

Limoncello is a lemon liqueur that originates in the south of Italy, and is served well chilled in the summer months any day ending in the letter ‘y”.  Traditionally served after dinner (but great at any time!), limoncello is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S.

Unfortunately for those of us in the limoncello-loving community, two things hinder our limoncello consumption.  The first is the restricted sale of grain alcohol, a key ingredient in the making of limoncello.  The second is the widespread sale of commercial limoncello, which is just a sugary, watered-down version of limoncello.

Fortunately, good limoncello can easily be made at home.  [continued after the jump...]

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