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Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

The marbled effect in this Americana-inspired dessert is easier to achieve than it looks -- all it takes is alternating scoops of colored cheesecake batter, and then a simple wooden skewer does the rest.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 11 hr 45 min (includes cooling and chilling time)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
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Ingredients

Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 18 whole crackers)

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch fine salt

Filling:

Three 11.5-ounce containers whipped cream cheese

1 1/4 cups sugar

One 16-ounce container sour cream, at room temperature

1 cup heavy cream

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon red gel food coloring (or to desired color)

1/2 teaspoon blue gel food coloring (or to desired color)

Directions

Special equipment:
a 10-inch springform pan and a wooden skewer
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
  2. For the crust: Toss together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely. Wrap the bottom and sides of pan up with a large piece of foil and put in a large roasting pan.
  3. For the filling: Beat together the cream cheese and sugar, in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sour cream, and beat until just combined. Add the heavy cream and beat until just combined. Mix in the eggs, by hand, 1 at time. Mix in the vanilla and lemon juice, by hand, until just combined. (Take care not to overmix, or the cheesecake will turn into a soufflé!). 
  4. Ladle out 2 cups of cheesecake batter and divide between 2 bowls. Color 1 bowl with red food coloring and 1 with blue food coloring. Leave the remaining batter white. 
  5. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon, and drop scoopfuls of the batter onto the crust, alternating between the different colors until all the batter is gone. Use a long wooden skewer and drag it through the batter, making sure the skewer reaches down to the bottom of the pan, in 4 swipes, to marble the colors for a tie dye effect. Transfer the springform pan to the roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come about halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  6. Bake until the outside of the cake is set, but the center is still slightly loose, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan to a cooling rack. Run a knife around the edge and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours. 
  7. Unmold the cheesecake and transfer to a serving plate or cake stand.

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