The Best Cheesecake Made for Grandma

SERVINGS12 servings PREP TIME9 hrs 30 mins COOK TIME1 hr 15 mins TOTAL TIME10 hrs 45 mins

Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • ▢ 40 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (5-8 oz. packages; 2 1/2 lbs total)
  • ▢ 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • ▢ 1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • ▢ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ▢ 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • ▢ any desired cheesecake toppings

Instructions

  • Place oven racks in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium sized bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs together with sugar and melted butter until well incorporated and mixture looks like damp sand. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press crust into the bottom and half way up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix cream cheese 30 seconds ’til smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add in granulated sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Mix again until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again briefly.
  • Crack eggs into a liquid measuring cup and using a fork, beat until well scrambled. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the eggs into the cream cheese mixture and stop stirring once egg has been incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the sides and bottom again, ensuring the entire mixture is smooth. If there are a few small lumps, try to fold in using the rubber scraper.
  • Once the batter is completely smooth and ready, tap the bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove as many air bubbles as possible. You should see them popping on the surface as you tap the bowl. Pour filling into the center of the graham cracker crust and gently smooth the top. Will be very full!
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Reduce temperature to 250 degrees and continue cooking for 45 minutes more. Once this time has elapsed, turn oven off and keep cheesecake inside for another 30 minutes for some carryover cooking without opening the oven door. Crack oven door to let cheesecake cool slowly for one hour before removing. At this point, cheesecake should be slightly warm. Bring cheesecake to room temperature on the counter (3-4 hours) before covering with plastic wrap and transferring to the fridge.
  • Refrigerate until chilled completely (6 hours to overnight). To serve, open springform pan and remove collar. Decorate as desired.  Dip a sharp knife into hot water, wipe off any excess water and slice. I like to dip my knife in water between each slice to get really clean-looking pieces.

Notes

If you would like a thicker graham cracker crust, use 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, 5 tablespoons granulated sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Press into the pan and bake for 8 minutes.

AB’S Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup

3 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

8 large egg yolks

9 ounces sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.
  3. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Variations

Ingredients

  • 10 large fresh egg whites (300 g)
  • 2-1/2 cups 500 g sugar
  • 3 cups 680 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon 20 ml pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don’t begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  3. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
  4. Add additional flavours, purees, as desired.

Sweetapolita’s Notes

*Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

**Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.

***If buttercream still doesn’t have its satiny finish after rewhipping, microwave 1/3 of the buttercream for approximately 10 seconds and add to remaining buttercream in mixer bowl, beating for a few moments to incorporate.

Sweetapolita’s Notes on a few Variations:

  • Chocolate Buttercream:  Add 300 g (1 1/2 cups before melting) melted bittersweet high quality chocolate (the best you can get–I use Callebaut) for every 5 cups of vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and beat until incorporated.
  • Strawberry Buttercream (or any other berry version):  Add fruit puree to taste (approximately 1/2 cup for 5 cups of SMB).
  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream: Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste OR 1 vanilla bean, scraped for every 5 cups of SMB, and beat until incorporated.
  • Lemon Buttercream: Eliminate vanilla extract and add 1 teaspoon of pure lemon extract  for every 5 cups of SMB, or to taste, and beat until incorporated.
  • You can also add liqueurs and other flavourings, as well as any food gel colours to achieve any desired colour.