Alright, let's be honest. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're paying American taxes today, which, even if you're getting money back, is still a terrible amount of paperwork. Or perhaps you're a Brit, in which case, you probably should be celebrating the fact that you AREN'T paying American taxes today. Or maybe you started a new job this week (oh wait, that's me).
Regardless, I'm pretty sure this accurately sums up the way you and I both feel right about now.
In case you're just tuning in, when I sorted out the recipes in the box, it turned out that my grandmother had over a dozen recipes for plain cheesecake. Plain! Not even flavoured! So each month I'm making one, in hopes that I'll perfect my method, and also that maybe eventually I'll have a go-to unbeatable cheesecake recipe. So far, this is turning out more difficult than I thought.
Of all the cheesecakes I've made from the box so far, this one is most definitely the easiest. It's also hands down the most delicious... but that doesn't mean it came out pretty. Once again, the cheesecake rose to unmanageable heights in the oven, then slumped, fell, and cracked down the middle almost all the way to the crust. Also, good luck finding zweiback if you don't live... wherever zweiback is from. I settled for a mix of BelVita 'milk & cereals' biscuits and something called 'Nice Biscuits,' which I later learned are very sweet and coconut-based, so I don't recommend going that route. But if you do, then lower your sugar accordingly (I've included both amounts below).
However, it was still worth it, because this sucker was delicious. (Oh, and I finally found pie filling at an international grocer, so I'd be lying if I said I didn't eat my share of this topped with cherries. I'm sure Eleanor is glowering down on me from Heaven, but hey: a girl can't make one cheesecake a month without getting sick of plain ones!
This is the most worn-out, dripped-on, dog-eared recipe I've yet come across in the box, so I know Eleanor agreed with me: make this cheesecake when you need a break from the most taxing parts of your everyday life (pun intended).
4 spoons out of five. If I was ranking on ease and flavour alone, I'd have to give it a five, but alas, appearance figures into the mix here, and this cheesecake slumped and cracked like I've never seen before, so... a spoon is deducted accordingly. However, the uniqueness of having a top and bottom crust combined with the creamy-but-still-light flavour makes me think this might be the one most worth perfecting.
Double-Crusted, Lightweight Cheesecake
1 ½ c zweiback, digestive, rich tea, or graham cracker crumbs, ground very fine and divided
2 tbsp sugar (if using zweiback. Otherwise, cut this to a scant 1 tbsp)
3 tbsp melted butter
16 oz cream cheese
1 c sugar
5 eggs, divided
16 oz sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
Mix together sugar, butter, and 1 c crumbs, then press firmly into bottom of springform pan.
Reserve remaining ½ c crumbs for top crust.
Bring cream cheese to room temperature.
Once cream cheese is ready, preheat oven to 148C/300F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks.
Add cream cheese and sugar and mix well, then add sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice.
(Cream cheese should be soft enough that you can do this by hand-- if you use a mixer, make sure to use the lowest speed)
Set aside mixture, and in a separate bowl beat egg whites until very stiff.
Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture gently until mixture is smooth. (This will take 3-5 minutes if working by hand. Mine still had bubbles in it, but all lumps were gone).
Pour into prepared pan and top with remaining crumbs.
Bake 1 hour, then, without opening the door, turn oven off and leave for another hour.
Open door and leave for a third hour.
Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly before removing sides of pan.