Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 Rolled to an End

I can probably count on one hand the number of desserts I produced in my kitchen in 2013.  It seems, and it only makes sense, the older you get, the less you need to eat.  And, if I am giving something up, it will be dessert.  I would much rather enjoy a good meal and a bottle of wine than dessert.  Believe me, that attitude has changed from when I was younger. 

But, since part of our family was visiting for Christmas, a dessert for Christmas is always necessary.  It just seems to make the season complete.  I have a cheesecake recipe that I have made for years, but I wanted to try something new.  I thought I had found one, but when I saw it added a can of sweetened condensed milk, I thought that would be too sweet.  My daughter suggested the one she has been making by Tyler Florence, and so that is what I did.

It baked perfectly and was actually fluffy in texture.  Very good, but then, when is Tyler Florence ever wrong?

The Ultimate Cheesecake
  Courtesy of Tyler Florence and my Strawberry Topping

2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8 ounce) blocks, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened.  Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour the crumbs into the pan and using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1 inch up the sides.  Refrigerator for 5 minutes.

For the Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined.  Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla.  Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters.  The batter should be well-mixed, but not overbeaten.  Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it.  Place the cake pain in a large roasting pan.  Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.  The foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake.  Bake for 45 minutes.  (I needed to bake another 12 minutes in my oven.)  The cheesecake should still jiggle and it should firm up after chilling, so be careful not to overbake.  Let cool in pan for 30 minutes.  Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight is best.  Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim.  Unmold and transfer to a cake plate.  Using a spatula, spread a layer of  topping over the surface.

Susan's Strawberry Topping

Approximately 1 pound of strawberries
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Combine cornstarch, strawberry jam and honey in a small sauce pan.  Stir until the cornstarch is completely incorporated.  Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer and cook for one minute.  Remove from heat and let cool 15-20 minutes.

Arrange hulled strawberries on top of the cheesecake in a circle on the edge.  Continue to add to cover the center.  Then cut up the berries and place in the gaps between the berries to totally cover the top.  Drizzle the cooled strawberry glaze over the strawberries before serving.



  1. If you're going to splurge, splurge on something decadent and pretty and I think you've found it in this gorgeous cheesecake.

  2. I agree...if I have to give up something, it is the dessert. This, however, looks too delicious...I could never pass it up. I am sharing this with my daughter...she can afford the calories! I hope to steal a small piece!

  3. Susan,
    I wish I was loosing my sweet tooth. I'm old enough but it's sadly, just not happening. Your cheesecake looks wonderful, that's one dessert I never tire of though I like just a sliver......... or two.

  4. Susan,
    I wish I was loosing my sweet tooth. I'm old enough but it's sadly, just not happening. Your cheesecake looks wonderful, that's one dessert I never tire of though I like just a sliver......... or two.

  5. I think this makes a perfect dessert... and so pretty with the strawberr
    ies on it!

  6. I'm like you, Susan, I don't make dessert very often any more. But if there is anything I couldn't resist it would be a slice of your luscious cheesecake. It is so pretty with its strawberry topper.

  7. Maybe, one day, I'll give up dessert. Right now, it would be really hard to do! I've made Tyler's cheesecake, years ago, before I started blogging. I'm glad you reminded me of this one. The strawberry topping sounds wonderful, especially with the honey.

  8. This looks delicious! I was thinking of you today when my son put up a video about Sriracha sauce on my desktop. I learned about this from your blog and now we love it!

    I'm wondering about using splenda for this cheese cake........

  9. yum looks great!

  10. We live in a big strawberry-growing area.... Can't wait until spring! Like you, I make a handful of desserts a year - if that many. When I do, they have to be worth it LOL Gorgeous cheesecake.

  11. That is one great looking cheesecake Susan, but amen to "I would much rather enjoy a good meal and a bottle of wine than dessert."

  12. Your cheese cake looks outstanding. I have to say, that I feel very sorry that you decided to give up desserts. I wouldn't want to do that. How tragic! While on my last visit in Germany I substituted every meal possible with a piece of cake and I loved it.

  13. Thank you for all your kind comments. Duh...I forgot to mention that right now is prime strawberry season in Florida. I can buy a quart for $3.50 at the farmer's market and they are delicious. They do not need to travel far from the fields to my refrigerator.

    Kristi: I do not use Splenda so can't answer that. If I can't use true sugar, I do not make it. Never use the sugar substitutes.

    Kirsten: I hear you. When in Europe, France, Germany, Italy, I over-indulge in the wonderful sweets. They are not found in the US like they make them in Europe, so yes,, I eat my share for a year when traveling.

  14. It looks beautiful Susan. I will keep your topping recipe for the next time I make a cheesecake. And I just might make it Tyler Florence's cheesecake. Yum.

  15. I love Tyler's recipes and have never been disappointed. What a beautiful cheesecake and your strawberry topping is gorgeous!

  16. It looks mouth watering delicious and pretty too!

  17. I want a little bite of everything. I have tried to scale down my recipes - mini versions. This sounds like an excellent company dish - send it home with the guests. Pinning.

  18. Not only does it sound delicious, it is BEAUTIFUL! Looks like a Valentine dessert to me. ;) Yep, that's coming up quickly. How can the year fly past so FAST? We have another contract on the house and things are getting that panicky (sp?) frenzy around here... I'm trying not to succumb to the URGE to medicate myself with sweets... but, this is very tempting. blessings and hgus ~ tanna