Tag Archives: classics

Classic Cheesecake

A couple weeks ago Patrick and I were having his boss over for dinner on a Friday night and I was trying to figure out a delicious yet special meal that I could serve after a full day of work.  Make ahead was a given, and since she is from New York it hit me – have cheesecake for dessert!  Somehow in the years we have been together I have never made my cheesecake for Patrick and now I have a feeling it will be requested often.  It is the perfect holiday item – the ingredients are super simple, it’s pretty hands off, it actually needs to be made in advance, lasts for days and is almost universally loved!  It is also a great dessert to bring to a family holiday meal or an office party, as transporting it in a springform pan means that it can’t really get crushed.

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What a springform pan looks like in case you don’t have one

This is a pretty simple version with just a few twists thrown in to amp up the flavor.  I put orange zest and juice in the cheese mixture as I think the citrus helps keep the filling from being one note.  Also I like to add bourbon to the sour cream topping but since it’s not cooked off if you want you can just use vanilla extract.  While this cheesecake takes a little while to make and then you have to chill it, the actual hands on time is so minimal you could easily do it when you get home one night and then serve it the upcoming weekend.  Thursday I will post a stuffed shells recipe that can also be make in advance – pair the two and you can feed a huge crowd this season with zero hassle!

Classic Cheesecake (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  everyone’s favorite made easy
Special Equipment:  9 inch springform pan

  • 6 ounces or 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup, a 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Spray your springform pan with cooking spray or grease with vegetable oil.  In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, a 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the melted butter.  The consistency should be like wet sand.

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Using your fingers press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan, trying to keep it as consistent as possible.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand held mixer, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth.  Add the orange juice and zest along with one of the eggs and mix to combine.  Add the last two eggs, and a pinch of salt and combine, making sure to scrape down the sides.  Pour into the pan over the crust and put in the oven (I put the springform pan on a baking sheet to make it easier to take out of the oven.)

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Bake for 1 hour.  When the hour is up turn off the oven but do not remove the cake, instead open the oven door and leave it ajar for 30 more minutes.

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In a small bowl combine the sour cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the bourbon.  Spread evenly on top of the cheesecake and return it to the cooling down oven for another 30 minutes with the door ajar.

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Take the cheesecake out of the oven and allow to completely cool.  Then cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days before serving.

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Classic Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

Special Equipment:  9 inch springform pan

  • 6 ounces or 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup, a 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Spray your springform pan with cooking spray or grease with vegetable oil.  In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, a 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the melted butter.  The consistency should be like wet sand.  Using your fingers press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan, trying to keep it as consistent as possible.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand held mixer, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth.  Add the orange juice and zest along with one of the eggs and mix to combine.  Add the last two eggs, and a pinch of salt and combine, making sure to scrape down the sides.  Pour into the pan over the crust and put in the oven (I put the springform pan on a baking sheet to make it easier to take out of the oven.  Bake for 1 hour.  When the hour is up turn off the oven but do not remove the cake, instead open the oven door and leave it ajar for 30 more minutes.  In a small bowl combine the sour cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the bourbon.  Spread evenly on top of the cheesecake and return it to the cooling down oven for another 30 minutes with the door ajar.  Take the cheesecake out of the oven and allow to completely cool.  Then cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days before serving.

Over the Top Mashed Potatoes

I assume you all know how to make mashed potatoes – even my friends who are cooking neophytes can handle this classic. But for the biggest meal of the year you don’t want just regular old mashed potatoes right?  By using a ricer instead of a masher or a mixer you can insure the fluffiest texture.  By adding cream plus butter plus buttermilk you will arrive at a creamy, tangy and silky blend.  My dad taught me the trick of including peeled garlic cloves in with the potatoes when you boil them.  The garlic gets soft and mellow and then you can blend them in with the potatoes and get a light garlicky taste.  Then just when you thought it couldn’t get better you fold in some nice grainy mustard at the end.  These mashed would be great anytime but they will go particularly well with your turkey and stuffing this thanksgiving.

Over the Top Mashed Potatoes(printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:
Special Equipment:  potato ricer

  • 8 medium yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons whole grain mustard

Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces (try and keep them around the same size so they cook evenly).

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Place in a pot with cold water and the garlic cloves (you can store the potatoes like this for an hour or two).  Add some salt and turn the heat to high.  The water will eventually start boiling but keep the potatoes on high and cook in total for about 20 to 30 minutes until tender.  You can test them with a pairing knife or fork – if the knife easily pierces the potato it’s ready.  While the potatoes cook warm the cream and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Drain in a colander then set the ricer over the pot (if you don’t have a ricer return the potatoes to the pot and use a hand mixer).  Squish the potatoes and garlic cloves through the ricer, scraping the sides as needed.

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Stir in the warmed cream and butter along with salt and pepper.  Follow with the buttermilk and whole grain mustard.  Serve with the remaining tablespoon of butter on top.

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Over the Top Mashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

Special Equipment:  potato ricer

  • 8 medium yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons whole grain mustard

Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces (try and keep them around the same size so they cook evenly).  Place in a pot with cold water and the garlic cloves (you can store the potatoes like this for an hour or two).  Add some salt and turn the heat to high.  The water will eventually start boiling but keep the potatoes on high and cook in total for about 20 to 30 minutes until tender.  You can test them with a pairing knife or fork – if the knife easily pierces the potato it’s ready.  While the potatoes cook warm the cream and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Drain in a colander then set the ricer over the pot (if you don’t have a ricer return the potatoes to the pot and use a hand mixer).  Squish the potatoes and garlic cloves through the ricer, scraping the sides as needed.  Stir in the warmed cream and butter along with salt and pepper.  Follow with the buttermilk and whole grain mustard.  Serve with the remaining tablespoon of butter on top.

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