When it comes to food there are some things you just do not mess with. Pure lemon juice is just that, pure lemon juice. No fillers. No artificial anything. Peanut butter should be peanut butter. Not peanuts mushed together with corn syrup, mounds of salt, and emulsified beyond reason. Steak is steak. Macaroni and cheese should be succulent macaroni swimming in pure cheese without additives that make you glow in the dark just for thinking of ingesting it. This could go on forever. The idea is so dang simple. Too many foods are ‘ingrediented’ (new word!) to death. Let food be food. Do not over think it. Do not over pollute food with additives to make it more. It rarely works. Eat real food that is just plain food. Cheesecake is a prime example. Cheesecake has been beaten (no pun intended) to death by adding artificial whipped toppings that should resemble whipped cream but do not even come close. That same topping may even keep your car’s engine from freezing! Many cheesecakes include cheese that no cheese maker would ever claim even as their most awful mistake. Very true.
Some cheesecakes include gelatinous goo and other ingredients better meant for pudding pops. Cheesecake is cheesecake. Cheese plus cake equals cheesecake. Here is my pure cheesecake. No shortcuts, no prepared anything to speed the process or even eliminate steps. It is a bit dense and just sweet enough, just cheese enough, just right enough. No fruity toppings or mounds of whipped cream. Add them later if you must. It is not really calorie friendly but once in a while that is ok. This is my cheesecake that hopefully will make you close your eyes with the first bite, savor it on your tongue and know it is just plain right. Cheesecake as cheesecake is meant to be. Enjoy it. Savor real food, even for dessert.
3/4 cup crushed vanilla wafer crumbs. The first time I made this I had homemade sugar cookies and used these for the crumbs. They worked really well!
½ cup ground English walnuts
1 tablespoon brandy
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature.
1 cup sour cream – I use fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature. I use half regular cream cheese and half fat-free.
In large bowl add crumbs, ground nuts, melted butter, brandy, nutmeg, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix with fork.
Butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Pat crumbs on bottom of pan and up sides about 1 inch. Place in freezer while you prepare the filling. I often line the pan with parchment so I can easily slide the cake right off the pan, especialy if giving to someone, or taking it to an event. Butter the paper too, and once baked trim the paper before you remove the ring.
Beat 4 egg yolks until thick. Add sour cream, mix until blended.
Add flour, vanilla, and ¾ cup sugar. Mix well.
Cut cream cheese into 2-inch cubes and add a few at a time to yolk mixture. Blend until all cream cheese is incorporated and batter has no lumps. Set aside.
In separate bowl with clean beaters, beat 4 egg whites until foamy. Slowly add in ¼ cup sugar a bit at a time and continue beating egg whites on high until stiff and glossy. Carefully fold egg whites into cheese mixture. Fold gently but thoroughly.
Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until center of cheesecake is solid and not ‘jiggly’. Cake will be puffy and may rise above edge of pan. It will settle as it cools as it should!
Cool 20 – 30 minutes and remove spring form ring. Chill until you are ready to serve.
Drizzle with a touch of carmal while just a bit warm for extra sweetness!