Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mixed Berry Cheesecake

(excuse the photo - all I had when it was served was a cell phone)

Mixed Berry Cheesecake
Courtesy of Ina Garten

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (5 8oz packages)
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, about 2 lemons (I only used 1 lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used my vanilla bean paste)

For the topping:
1 cup red jelly (not jam) such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
1/2 pint sliced strawberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pint blueberries
** I opted just to use sliced strawberries mixed with a little sugar and lemon juice for our topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees.

To make the filling, cream the sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of  the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. (I left the cake in the oven the whole time - I just opened the door for the 30 minutes, and then closed it again for the 2-3 hours.) Wrap and refridgerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss berries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refridgerate until ready to serve.
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