In the second monthly installment of The Cheesecake Series, today we have a plain cheesecake dated Christmas 1978, with a note at the top that reads “hope you enjoy it!” It's written on sparkly Christmas stationery and signed “From Marge,” so I am assuming it came folded inside a holiday card. I love that idea-- long distance friends sending each other recipes when they can't visit each other in person. So old-school and cute.
Also, as an avid Golden Girls fan, I love that Eleanor and her friends were trading recipes for cheesecake long before the Golden Girls made cheesecake the dessert for women of a certain age to eat with their friends. (I especially love this because for a long time as a child I believed that the character of Dorothy Zbornak on the show was based on Eleanor, and that Sophia Petrillo was based on my Aunt Margie.)
I don't know how Eleanor felt about this particular cheesecake-- the recipe itself is in remarkably good condition, so it might not be one she made very often. I'm starting to feel like if you can find a cheesecake recipe that works for you, it's probably a better idea to stick with it than keep experimenting, but neither of the recipes I've tried so far have been particularly stellar, so I'm gonna keep trying. This cheesecake was definitely easier than the last-- no fancy ingredients (I'm looking at you, ricotta), and no weird steps like whipping egg whites into a meringue before folding them in gently. The crust, of course, was supposed to be made with graham crackers, but since I have no access to those and didn't want to make my own, I used digestive biscuits. This made the crust a little lighter in colour and a little thinner than I expected, but it was still delicious.
However. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but both times I've made cheesecakes from the box, they've risen like crazy while in the oven, then fallen, slumped, and browned on the top. This one was still good-- Judson took half of it to work and his colleagues gave it a resounding thumbs up, so I know it's not just me who thinks it was good. It's denser than the last one, but manages not to be overpoweringly heavy. It's incredibly creamy and has a really faint lemon flavour that's offsets all that creaminess really well. If I could find pie filling in this country, I'd serve it with cherries on top, but alas. Maybe next month.
3 spoons out of five. It's good, it really is. But if yours looks like mine, you probably wouldn't want to serve it to the Queen of England when she drops by for afternoon tea. (Also note: pictured here I served it with Nutella, but if you're interested in authenticity, you'd better have it plain)
Creamy Dreamy Cheesecake
16 oz cottage cheese
16 oz cream cheese
16 oz sour cream
4 oz butter (1 stick, if you're stateside), plus extra for greasing the pan
1 ½ c sugar
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c graham cracker or digestive biscuit crumbs
Preheat oven to 325F/162C.
Blend all ingredients except crumbs “until smooth like sour cream.”
(If yours is like mine, you might still see some tiny lumps from the cottage cheese, but as long as there are only a few, you're good.)
Heavily grease the bottom and sides of a springform pan, then sprinkle the crumbs in and shake to distribute evenly.
Pour the cheese mixture smoothly and quickly on top of the loose crumbs to avoid shifting the crumbs around too much.
Bake for one hour, then turn off oven and without opening the door, leave the cheesecake in for additional two hours.
Place cheesecake on counter (not refrigerator) to cool completely (this will take several hours), then refrigerate until serving, up to overnight if needed.