Spring time, it’s brief and beautiful. A paint box of colour splashed on a barren landscape. Small buds burst from the branches, tulips reach up to the blue sky and pale green leaves unfold. We try to make the best of these weekends by going to the park and beach to soak in every aspect of the transition. Yesterday I was thinking about how much things change from day to day in May. In April you are searching for the first snow drops and then Kaboom!….a riot of colour and a canopy of rustling leaves.
It’s amazing how little things bring you back to being a kid – colours, sounds and aromas. While we were at the beach yesterday I could smell barbeque starter fluid. This immediately transported me back to being a kid. All summer long we would fire up the grill. BBQ lighter fluid = fun in the sun for me. Strange how that works! This brings me to a favourite childhood memory – cherry cheesecake, New York style. It was the ONLY dessert I would order for years! Hahahaha like my obsession for burgers, fries and blue cheese dressing I never tired of New York Cheesecake. The smell of it baking in my house brings me back to birthday celebrations and special moments. What brings back happy memories for you??
1/2 cup sugar
1 finely grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1 large free range egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 (8 ounce) bricks of cream cheese
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
the zest of one orange
the zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 can of tinned cherry filling
Ok, I cannot improve on this recipe. It’s perfect as is. There is one thing I did tweak from the original though – I only put crust on the bottom. The original recipe calls for the cheesecake to be encased in the crust. My time is limited these days and eliminating this step allows me to make the cheesecake faster. I use the same amount of crust – which makes the bottom slightly heavier than the original recipe – it also takes a bit longer to cook. The other slight amendment that I make is the canned cherry topping. Yes you heard me right. This is one the few recipes where I advocate using a canned filling rather than fresh. The original recipe calls for a homemade strawberry sauce – but I personally prefer the diner appeal of the canned cherries. YUM. When strawberry season comes upon us I will switch this up of course;)
Preheat the oven to 375. In a food processor add sugar, lemon zest, butter, eggs yolk, water and vanilla and pulse until the mixture is granular. To give you an idea of what the consistency should be like – the butter should still be in 1/4 inch pieces. Add the flour and quickly pulse 20 or so times until the mixture almost becomes a dough. It is important not to over process the dough as it will become tough. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan and press the dough into the bottom. Bake until golden brown. This took me about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Turn the heat up to 525 degrees. Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. In a large Kitchen Aid mixer on medium, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the sugar, flour, salt, zests and vanilla. Beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for about 10 seconds after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the heavy cream. Blend for 30 seconds more. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan and bake for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake for approximately 1 hour more. The top will be golden and the cake should appear to be set. Cool to room temperature and then release from the spring form pan. I usually run a knife around the edge to make sure it comes out cleanly. refrigerated over night and then spread the cherry pie filling over then next day. A little goes a long way with this super rich dessert.