On Christmas Eve night, we ate this beautiful cheesecake, the 12 of us who were gathered for dinner at my house.
But we also ate miniature brownie hot fudge sundaes.
I must not also forget the Lemon Bundt Cake.
And this was after a satisfying dinner of bruschetta, green salad, lasagna, and fettucini alfredo.
Even for the champion eaters in my Italian family, this is a mountain of delicious food.
And this is why my tall and creamy cheesecake measures only 5 inches across. Knowing that something gigantically tremendous wouldn't be necessary, I scaled down Dorie Greenspan's recipe to fit into a 5 inch springform pan. (You can make cheesecake in just about anything-paperlined muffin cups, pie plates, ramekins, loaf pans, 9 by 13 baking dishes. ) The cheesecake was exactly as Dorie described it, "big, beautiful, lush and creamy." In fact, it's the most delicious cheesecake I've ever eaten, with just the perfect amount of sweetness and the smoothest texture. Dorie's advice to beat the batter "vigorously until satiny," is the key to meltingly smooth cheesecake. Here's my scaled-down version.
Money Saving Tips: This is the best time of year to buy cream cheese, with many stores offering 8 ounce blocks for $1 each. I look for late expiration dates on the packages and stock my fridge.
Tall and Creamy 5 inch Cheesecake
Scaled Down and Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Recipe
Estimated Cost: $4.50 if you can get a good deal on the cream cheese
Notes: Dorie recommends a waterbath, but I skipped that step out of sheer laziness.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 8 ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
berries or fruit for serving
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To make crust, combine crumbs, butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Press up the sides of a 5 inch springform pan, or into 3 or 4 little custard cups. Prebake crust for about 7 minutes. Cool completely and store in freezer. (Can be done weeks in advance.) In a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat for one minute. Scrape down mixer with spatula and check to make sure there are no lumps. Beat until completely smooth. With mixer on low, add sour cream, lemon juice and zest and vanilla. Pour into crust and bake for 30-45 minutes at 325 degrees. (I test the cheesecake for doneness by tapping the outside of the pan. When only the middle 2 inches jiggle, I'll remove it from the oven. OR if the cheesecake has a crack, I'll take it out right away. The crack will usually close back up as the cheesecake cools down.) Cool cheesecake completely and store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with fruit.
Easy Appetizer for New Year's