Never mind the sour cream, farmer’s cheese, cream cheese, water bath, and worrying about a sunken center. The filling for this delicious cheesecake has just four simple ingredients, and the cake bakes in a mere 30 minutes. Now THAT’S easy!
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (9 to 10 whole graham crackers, crushed)
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (1/3 cup) melted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (2 large packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Select a pie pan whose inside top dimension is at least 9″, and whose height is at least 1 1/4″. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the crust by stirring together all of the crust ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
- Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan, making a thicker layer on the bottom than on the sides.
- Make the filling by mixing together the room-temperature cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, again mixing until smooth. To avoid beating too much air into the batter, use a mixer set at low-medium speed. To avoid lumps, make sure the cream cheese is softened, and/or at room temperature.
- Set the pie pan onto a baking sheet, if desired; this makes it easier to transport in and out of the oven, and also protects the bottom of the crust from any potential scorching. Pour the filling into the crust.
- Place the cheesecake in the oven. Bake it for 20 minutes, then add a crust shield; or shield the crust with strips of aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 10 minutes (for a total of about 30 minutes). A digital thermometer inserted into the crust 1″ from the edge should read between 165°F and 170°F; the filling won’t look entirely set in the center.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool. Once the cake is cool, refrigerate it, covered, until you’re ready to serve it.
- Serve cheesecake in wedges, with fresh fruit if desired. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for several days; freeze for longer storage.
TIPS FROM OUR BAKERS
- To make individual cheesecakes, divide the crust mixture and filling evenly among four 4″ mini springform pans. Bake the cheesecakes for about 30 minutes, until the edges are set and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of one read 165°F to 170°F. Proceed with the recipe directions as written.
- Want to serve the cheesecake with a tasty raspberry topping? Place the contents of a 12-ounce bag frozen raspberries (a scant 3 cups) in a bowl to thaw. You can hasten the process with a quick trip through the microwave, but don’t let the berries cook. Add 1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel to thicken, and stir until well combined. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, if desired. Spoon the topping over the cheesecake.
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