4 packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp flour
8 graham crackers, finely crushed
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 tsp ground cinnamon
9″ springform pan
Make the crust: combine graham crackers, melted butter, and cinnamon. Press evenly into the bottom and 2 inches up the side of the springform pan — this is the hardest part of the whole process. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the filling: beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour at low speed until just combined. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, letting each egg combine in before adding the next.
Place the crust pan on a cookie sheet; pour the filling into the crust. Bake on the cookie sheet at 300° for one hour – it likely will not be completely set yet. Turn off the oven and open the door for one minute to let a lot of the heat escape; this is a good opportunity to run a knife around the inside of the pan – this will help keep the beautiful cheesecake from cracking. Close the door and let it sit in the turned-off warm oven for another hour. Remove from the oven and let it cool for another hour. Loosen the outer ring of the springform pan and remove it. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least a couple hours.
- For Chocolate Cheesecake: melt 4 oz semisweet baking chocolate; stir into the filling just before adding the eggs.
- Mini cheesecakes: 1/4 of the recipe makes one 4″ mini (very full). 1/2 of the recipe makes two very full ones or 3 short ones.
- Cherry glaze: mix 1/2 cup water and 2 tsp cornstarch, heat; stir in 1/2 cup sugar; heat; stir in 2 cups frozen cherries; heat to boiling and cook for a few minutes; stir in a couple dashes of cinnamon and chill in the refrigerator.
Tips & Gotchas:
Hey, I said it was easy (as cheesecakes go — try looking up some other recipes) , not fast. It takes a long time. But it’s cheesecake, so it’s worth it.
Make sure your cream cheese is well-softened, at room temperature is best. And don’t beat the filling too much or too fast – it should be almost like stirring, just to get the ingredients combined — that’s why you start with soft cream cheese. Beating it too much will whip air into it and cause it to puff up and crack while baking. Also to prevent cracking: run a knife around the edge just after the initial hour of baking, before returning it to the oven.