I've been helping a family who lost a loved one, making a few Sunday dinners for them. It's been therapeutic for me, and I hope it's taken the stress off of them. When making these meals I want to make it as simple as possible, so the main just gets a heat up in the oven, and the desserts can just be served, so cheesecake it is. This recipe was given to me when I was newly married, over 48 years ago, and it's been a keeper ever since. I've made other cheesecakes, but this one is still my go-to. Cheesecakes are magic, you get a smooth, creamy, delicious filling on top of a crunchy crust, and they can be frozen with no problem at all.
Sour Cream Cheesecake Bars
Serves about 10
Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 18 whole crackers)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
To make the crust, in a large bowl, combine the crust ingredients and press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the dish. Set aside.
Cream Cheese Filling
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese softened
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
With an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until the filling is smooth. Pour into the crust and bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes.
Sour Cream Topping
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Meanwhile, make the topping. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla.
When the cheesecake is done, remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400° F. Spread the sour cream mixture over the hot cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and immediately cut into squares. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Do-Ahead: At this point, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 48 hours or freeze for up to 2 months.
Cook’s Note: Cutting the cheesecake while it’s hot is much easier than cutting it when it’s cooled and solid. I recommend you do this with a chef’s knife or bench scraper and make one long cut down each row, wiping the knife after each cut.
4 cups blackberries, washed and picked over for leaves
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup orange juice
In a saucepan combine the ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool and serve the sauce over ice cream, cheesecakes, or chocolate cake.