Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nancy's Cheesecake

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 ounces butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

Filling & Topping:
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla
32 ounces sour cream
24 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar

Crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press into bottom and sides of a springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Beat 1 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons vanilla into beaten eggs. Add pieces of cream cheese, a little at a time. Beat mixture 15 minutes at high speed of an electric mixer. Fold in 16 ounces of sour cream. Pour mixture into crust and bake 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Topping: Mix 16 ounces sour cream with remaining vanilla and sugar. Place on top of cooled cheesecake and put into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Refrigerate cake for at least 8 hours before serving.

This is the very first not-Sara Lee cheesecake that I ever tasted, and after this one I've never even wanted to taste another 'box' cheesecake, yuck. This cheesecake is delicious, I've made many other cheesecakes from different recipes and always come back to this one for the most special occasions, it's different than those other recipes in a good good way and besides the memories that go with it are better! Nancy is Mark's mom, and cooking with her was one of my absolute favorite parts of being part of the Hass family. Just about any morning that we were at her house I could find her in her housecoat, hair all awry, hanging out in the kitchen in the morning drinking coffee and cooking for the ones she loved. There was never a dull moment cooking with her and it's time that I always treasured. I never make this cheesecake without remembering how much fun I had cooking with Nancy.

Variations: Nancy never played with this recipe, and her family treasured it just as it is. I, however, tend to play with everything and so did experiment some. Nancy and I talked about these, and she even got to taste a few of them and liked them, but I will tell you that nothing beats the original recipe. For Pumpkin Cheesecake substitute 1 can pumpkin puree for sour cream in filing with required pumpkin pie spices times three, just as if making pumpkin pie. For Lemon/Almond Cheesecake substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for the 3 tablespoons of vanilla.

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