Serve this Creole Cheesecake with strawberries for a fresh springtime dessert.
Yields: 1 (9-inch) Cheesecake
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups sour cream, divided
- 1½ cups Creole Cream Cheese (recipe follows)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large bowl, stir together cracker crumbs, ¼ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and melted butter. Press mixture into bottom and 1-inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes. When cool, wrap the bottom in foil and place in a roasting pan.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-high speed until fluffy, 5 to 8 minutes. Add 1½ cups sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt, beating to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Add 1 cup sour cream, and beat to combine.
- Pour mixture into cooled crust. Place cheesecake in the oven, and add hot water to the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the cake. Bake until center is set, 1½ to 2 hours. Remove pan from water, and let cool 20 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cheesecake to release sides. Let stand until cool, at least 1 hour. 5. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Combine Creole Cream Cheese, remaining ½ cup sour cream, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth. Stir in lemon zest. Pour Creole Cream Cheese mixture over cake, and smooth with a knife or offset spatula. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.
Note: To freeze, wrap cheesecake tightly with heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap, or place in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag.
Creole Cream Cheese
Yields: 3 Cups
- 1 gallon skim milk, room temperature (70° to 80°)
- ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon liquid rennet
- In a large nonreactive bowl, combine milk, buttermilk, and rennet, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap or cheesecloth, and let stand undisturbed at room temperature (70° to 80°) for 16 to 24 hours. The longer the mixture sits, the firmer the cheese will be.
- Line a large colander with cheesecloth, and place in a large bowl. Ladle curds into lined colander. Refrigerate at least 6 to 8 hours. Cheese will become firmer as more liquid drains. Creole cream cheese will keep, refrigerated, up to 2 weeks.