Spooky, Scary Cheesecake, or, Soft-Crust, Super-Easy Cheesecake

Either I've become an expert cheesecake maker (unlikely) or this recipe is one of the easier cheesecakes I've made from the box so far. Either way, you should probably stop what you're doing and make this soon.

When I was a kid (and a teenager) I loved cheesecake. (Probably because I hadn't made one a month for the better part of a year, but that's neither here nor there). My dad loved to cook, so every year during my teen years, he'd make me a cheesecake for my birthday, using a recipe he claimed to have gotten from Eleanor (I now have my doubts about that). The year I turned sixteen, he ran out of graham crackers to make the crust so he decided to make it with Golden Grahams-- a honey-graham flavoured breakfast cereal available in the US (I view this as proof that I come by my improvisational cooking skills legitimately). Anyway, the blender he was using to grind the Golden Grahams wasn't sturdy enough to grind them, so he did what any normal Hurm man would do in the situation (and what no Hurm woman would ever even consider) and picked up the entire blender, base and all, and started shaking it while it was running.

Do I even need to tell you that this ended badly?

Well, I will. Because it did. The entire kitchen was covered in Golden Graham crumbs, from the pot rack that hung from the ceiling to the hood of the stove, to the stovetop itself, there were honey-graham crumbs everywhere. I don't remember who ended up cleaning up the mess (or how we got it sorted before my birthday party started), but it must have happened because one of the things I remember from that party is the fact that, as it turns out, Golden Grahams make an amazing pie crust. Nowadays I can't pop to the store for Golden Grahams anymore, and even if I could, I wouldn't use them in pie crusts as even now they remain my favourite breakfast cereal.

The night of the exploding blender was also the night that I realised why I didn't like my dad's cheesecakes, and the night I finally worked up the nerve to tell him that I didn't like them. As it turns out, my dad had always been making my birthday cheesecakes 'the Northern way.' The Northern way, to him, meant pouring a thin layer of sour cream cut with milk over the top of the cooked cheesecake, and I hated it. However, since cheesecakes are just shades of white, I never realised that the sour cream layer was the part I disliked, until that night when he was about to pour it on. 'WAIT!' I shrieked. 'Do we havvvvvvve to add that?' I questioned, in the way only a teenager can. My dad, confused about my reaction, poured the sour cream back into the container and the cheesecake was served bare (but probably topped with cherry pie filling, because we weren't a couple of heathens). And it was delicious.

 Good luck reading that. 

Good luck reading that. 

Up until this cheesecake, this has been my only experience with sour-cream-topped cheesecakes, so I kind of suspected my dad had made the entire thing up because pouring sour cream over a cheesecake is a surefire way to cover up any cracks in the top of the cheesecake while also masking any brown spots that cooked faster than other areas. (But, if you're like me, you might not like the way it tastes.) This cheesecake recipe, however, includes a thin layer of sour cream on top, and it's delicious. Maybe because it's cut with vanilla and sugar, or maybe just because the cheesecake itself is a lot heavier on the crust than it is on the filling, but it's delicious. So don't let the sour cream layer freak you out-- it's the perfect contrast to the crispy, buttery crust and the creamy, sweet filling.

Make this cheesecake for the Halloween party you RSVPed for but still don't have a costume for, and everyone will love you for it. Bonus? You don't even need a springform pan!

The verdict:

4 spoons out of five. This is the first cheesecake I've made that had not a single crack in the top of it, so it's a great 'starter' cheesecake if you've never made one. Plus, it doesn't even require any special tools: you can easily mix it by hand and bake it in a regular pan. It's also a pretty basic cheesecake-- there's no strong cream cheese flavour and it's light and fluffy without being overly heavy or dense. 

 

the recipe:

Soft-Crust, Super-Easy Cheesecake

the directions:
crust:

Preheat oven to 170C/325F.
Stir together crumbs, butter, and sugar until well-blended.
Press into bottom and sides of a 6x9 or similar pan.
Set aside while you make the filling.

Filling:

Beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
Add one egg at a time, beating after each addition.
Add sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Pour into prepared crust and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Let cool (cake may drop a little, but have no fear!).

Topping:

Preheat oven to 245C/475F (if your oven goes that high).
Beat together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla.
Spread over the cooled cake and bake for 5 minutes.

Note: The recipe says that this cheesecake freezes well, but I haven't tried it. If you do, let me know!

the ingredients:
the crust:

1 c graham crackers or Rich Tea biscuits, ground to fine crumbs
2 oz butter, melted
¼ c sugar

the filling:

12 oz cream cheese
2 eggs
½ c sugar
¾ t vanilla
 

the topping:

1 c sour cream
2 tbsp sugar
½ t vanilla