Once, a few years ago, my twin sister and I thought it would be a great idea to make our mother a cheesecake for her birthday. Our older sister made them quite a bit, so we thought we’d be able to whip one up with no problem. To our dismay, however, the cake was overcooked and cracked and was just not appealing in the least. Since then I haven’t attempted to make another one until now.
While shopping at the supermarket the other day, I noticed that the PHILADELPHIA® Cream Cheese was on sale for 2 for $3.00 and I just had to grab a few; believe me when I say that it is very, very rare that things are this cheap in New York City. I knew right away that I wanted to attempt making another cheesecake and with my nephew’s graduation right around the corner, I thought it’d be the perfect occasion to do so.
I searched online for a classic cheesecake recipe, and to my surprise, it was fairly difficult to find one. I could find Oreo cheesecakes, blueberry cheesecakes, cheesecake cookies, cheesecakes with sour cream or mascarpone, but what I wanted most was just a simple, no gimmicks recipe to see if I could master that before trying anything else. Luckily, All Recipes came to my rescue once again and the PHILADELPHIA® Classic Cheesecake recipe was exactly what I was looking for.
It required no special ingredients or anything that was too difficult to find, and I knew that I could attempt it with confidence after that cheesecake fiasco all those years ago. I also wanted to make a sweet strawberry sauce, and found this recipe as well.
- 4 (8 ounce) packages PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I used whole graham crackers and ground them up in a food processor)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
Fresh Strawberry Sauce
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (secret ingredient)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Mix crumbs, 3 tablespoons butter and sugar; press firmly onto bottom of pan.
- Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
- 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
- Combine strawberries, sugar, 2 tablespoons of the water, and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Whisk the rest of the water (2 tablespoons) and cornstarch in a small bowl.
- Whisk cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
After I put it into the oven and took it out, it looked perfect! There were no cracks, it didn’t brown on the top, and it wasn’t dry at all. I let it sit in the fridge overnight before removing the rim of the pan and it all held together well.
I am now no longer afraid to attempt to make cheesecake, and who knows, maybe next time I’ll be a little bit more adventurous.