Cheesecake is a family favorite at our house. Especially this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. While she uses a berry and jelly topping, we prefer to garnish our cheesecake with fresh fruit. And we’ve found that any fruit depending on your mood and taste is good. For our son Todd’s birthday a few months back we used fresh nectarines for garnish. I promise you … we will use nectarines again. It was that good!
The ingredients are simple and the results are absolutely delicious.
Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
2 tablespoon sugar (optional)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
Ingredients for Cheesecake filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese – at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs – at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks – at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Garnish with fresh fruit of choice: We used fresh nectarines
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place 10 graham crackers in a heavy duty zip lock bag and crush with a rolling pin. You’ll want 1 1/2 cups crushed so use more crackers as needed.
Add crushed graham crackers and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar to 6 tablespoons melted butter.
Mix well and press into a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes and let cool to room temperature. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Beat 2 1/2 pounds softened cream cheese for several minutes to a light and fluffy consistency. Mix in 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.
Add (room temperature) 5 whole extra-large eggs and 2 extra-large egg yolks one at a time mixing after each addition. Mix until well blended.
Zest 2 lemons.
Add the lemon zest (2 tablespoons), 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture.
Mix until well blended and smooth.
Pour the cream cheese mixture onto the baked graham cracker crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees and bake for another hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it reach room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate overnight. This time, I only had time to refrigerate the cheesecake for 4-5 hours and all was good but … I have always refrigerated overnight in the past.
Carefully remove your cheesecake from the spring form pan. It may be necessary to gently slide a knife between the pan and the cheesecake. Garnish with fresh fruit as desired and …