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This is a great recipe if you want to make a cheesecake. It’s simple, but it tastes heavenly! It’s also a great base recipe. It’s easy to add different fillings!
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9″ Springform pan well with shortening.
For the crust:
In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of your prepared pan. Now put your pan, uncovered, into the freezer while you’re making the filling.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the cheese until it’s nice and smooth. You don’t want to have any lumps.
It’s best to whisk your flour and sugar together first, to prevent any lumps when they’re added to the cream cheese. Pour them into the cream cheese and mix. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, add lemon zest, and continue to mix.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low just enough to incorporate. Do not over mix!
Blend in milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Again, do not over mix. Just mix until you get a smooth consistency.
Pour filling into prepared crust and bake.
You have a couple of options when it comes to baking your cheesecake. You can either:
A. Stick your pan into the preheated oven, turn down the temperature to 250F, and bake for an hour and a half. The center should still wobble a little. It shouldn’t be pure liquid or completely set. Once it’s done baking, turn the oven off and let it sit for at least an hour (more if you have the time). After about an hour or so, I open the oven door and let it sit for a few more hours. This option gives me the best results. I’ve never had it crack.
B. Stick your pan into the 350F oven and bake for an hour. Turn off the oven and let it sit for an hour or so. Open the oven door, and continue to let it cool for a few more hours. If you choose this option, I suggest using a water bath. You will need to wrap the bottom of your pan with aluminum foil (the more layers of aluminum foil the better), and stick it into a roasting pan. Then pour hot water almost halfway up your Springform pan. It will help the cheesecake cook evenly. I’ve cooked it this way a few times (minus the water bath) and it’s cracked every time. The taste is still delicious, just not as pretty. I’ve heard bad stories of soggy crusts, so I haven’t tried the water bath method yet. I just stick to option A, and I get wonderful results.
So either way, once the cheesecake is done baking and you’ve let it cool in the oven, wrap it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge. It’s best if you let it sit at least overnight. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!
I like to top it with sliced sweetened strawberries that have gotten nice and juicy!
Note: Lemon zest is optional. I seem to always forget to buy lemons when I’m at the store. If I have some, I will put zest in. If I don’t, it’s not a big deal.