Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Favorite Cheesecake

For my dad’s birthday today, I made him a cheesecake. Walt, a friend of mine (and former chef), gave me this basic cheesecake recipe when I was trying to make one for McHubby’s birthday, several years back when we were dating. I had never made a cheesecake at that time and was looking for a recipe that was tasty but not too intimidating. This cheesecake is so creamy and luscious with a hint of orange flavor, and it's very easy to make! Because oven temperatures can vary, keep an eye on the cheesecake to make sure it doesn’t burn—the top should be a golden brown color.

I topped this cheesecake with chocolate sauce and 1 package of strawberries mixed with 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of Grand Marnier, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Adapted from: Phil’s Blue Ribbon Cheesecake, The Best of Bon Appetit

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

3 8-ounce packages (1 ½ pounds) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter, cooled
½ teaspoon orange extract (can substitute Grand Marnier for a richer flavor)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and about ¾ inch up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly before adding filling.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Blend in butter and orange extract. Turn mixture into springform pan and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with strawberries and chocolate sauce. Serve chilled.

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