Classic Cheesecake

Dress up a plain cheesecake with homemade fruit sauce - in any flavor!

Total Time:
6 hr 40 min
Prep:
1 hr 10 min
Inactive:
4 hr
Cook:
1 hr 30 min

Yield:
8 to 10 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 14 whole graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the filling:
  • 3 8 -ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Homemade fruit sauce (see below)
Directions
  • Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Break the graham crackers into pieces, then pulse in a food processor with the sugar until finely ground; drizzle in the melted butter and pulse to combine. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and about 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

  • Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and slightly fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edge is set but the center still jiggles slightly, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and keep the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, then refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

  • Top with homemade fruit sauce (see below).

  • Rasberry-Rose

  • Combine 3 cups raspberries, 1 1/2 cups rose wine, 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange zest, the juice of 1 orange, 2 teaspoons vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes. Whisk 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water; whisk into the sauce until thickened, 3 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve, using a ladle to push it through. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. (Makes 1 1/2 cups.)

  • Honeydew-Avocado

  • Puree 2 cups cubed honeydew melon, 1 small peeled and pitted avocado, 1/3 cup sugar and the juice of 1 lime until smooth. If the sauce is still lumpy, strain through a fine-mesh sieve, using a ladle to push it through. Cover and refrigerate. (Makes 1 3/4 cups.)

  • Mango-Coconut

  • Combine 2 cups coconut water and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Add 2 chopped mangoes and cook until just tender, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the juice of 1 lime and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Puree until smooth, then strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve, using a ladle to push it through. Let cool; cover and refrigerate. (Makes 1 3/4 cups.)

  • Maple-Blueberry

  • Combine 3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup sugar, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat and simmer until reduced by half, 20 to 30 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve, using a ladle to push it through. Let cool; cover and refrigerate. (Makes 1 3/4 cups.)

  • Strawberry-Rhubarb

  • Toss 2 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, 1 pound quartered strawberries and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan; let sit until juicy, 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve, using a ladle to push it through. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. (Makes 1 1/2 cups.)

  • Apricot-Ginger

  • Combine 1 cup dried apricots, 1/3 cup sugar, 3 thin slices ginger, 1 1/4 cups water, 1/2 cup cranberry juice and the juice of 2 lemons in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the apricots are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool; discard the ginger. Puree until smooth, then cover and refrigerate. Stir in up to 1/2 cup water if the sauce seems thick. (Makes 2 cups.)

  • Photograph by Steve Giralt


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