I love cheesecake. Specifically, New York style cheesecake made with cream cheese, eggs and sugar. It’s an art to get it right, believe me, I’ve been practicing making them for years. I even made a cheesecake wedding cake for a friend’s daughter’s wedding. Three tiers, apricot swirl with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting, festooned for butter cream daisies. I’m told there was none left after twenty minutes. I gave the bride the recipe and a spring form pan as a bridal shower gift so she could make one on her first wedding anniversary.
There are cheesecakes for all occasions, including St. Patrick’s Day laced with Baily’s Irish Cream. It has become a tradition in my house since 1991 when I found the recipe in a 1991 Bon Appétit magazine. It’s best made a day before serving with steaming mugs of hot Irish coffee.
10 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
1 1/4 cup pecans(5 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
6 T. unsalted butter
1 1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur
1 t. vanilla extract
3 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Lindt)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 ounces imported white chocolate, grated
24 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 325. lightly butter 9 inch spring-form pan. Finely grind graham crackers, pecans and sugar in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns. Press crumbs onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
Using mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. whisk eggs, baileys and vanilla in medium bowl until just blended. Beat egg mixture into cream cheese mixture. Finely chop white chocolate in processor. Add to cream cheese mixture. Transfer filling to crust lined pan. Bake until edges of filling are puffed and dry looking and center is just set, about 50 minutes. Cool on rack. Do not remove cake from pan.
Mix sour cream and powdered sugar in small bowl. Spread topping onto cooled cake. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 6 hours. (can be prepared 1 day ahead)
Sprinkle grated chocolate over cake; place pecans around edge. Carefully loosen the rim of the spring-form pan; remove and place cake on a serving plate.
Serves 10, maybe.
Some tips to making the perfect cheesecake: