Celebrating with Raspberry Cheesecake

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This week was my three year anniversary with my boyfriend. As with most special occasions, I wanted to bake a dessert to celebrate. My boyfriend loves cheesecake. He really really  loves cheesecake, as in I have to watch him or otherwise he’ll eat the entire thing before I get a piece. (I’m only exaggerating slightly.)

Over the past few years, I’ve made several different cheesecake recipes and have yet to settle on a favorite. I usually stick with something fairly close to classic cheesecake, or with slight variations. This time, I made raspberry cheesecake.

Cheesecake can be a bit needy as a baked good. This is something I’ve come to find over the fews years I’ve been making it. But, as a baker, I enjoy the full process. Often, the cheesecake needs to bake in a bath of water and then cool gradually in the oven before going into the refrigerator, ideally overnight. If you wanted to steer clear of some of the work involved in making cheesecake, there are definitely simplified recipes out there.

The recipe I made, from the Kitchen Paper, also claims to be “skinny”, but I’m not entirely convinced on that point. I did make mine with light cream cheese and it has Greek yogurt in it. If I can pretend it’s good for me, I’m fine with that. There’s fruit in it too, so that makes it extra healthy, right?

Making the batter for cheesecake is pretty straightforward. It basically just involves mixing the ingredients together in various stages. The first step involved putting together the graham cracker crust. Once the mix is made, from a combination of crushed crackers, melted butter and sugar, it is pressed around the edges of a springform pan. It’s recommended to use this kind of pan because it makes it much easier to get the cake out later. The crust is then baked for about 12-15 minutes. For whatever reason, my crust burned a bit in the middle and around the top edges. I’m not sure if it was because it was too thin there. Anyway, I decided to live with it and hoped it didn’t mess up the taste of the entire cheesecake. Just be careful and monitor your crust. I’ve never had one burn on me before.IMG_3641

After the crust is baked, the batter is poured on top of it. I used frozen raspberries for the fruit part. I would recommend taking these out of the freezer a little early if you plan to use them. I did, but they were still a bit frozen, so they were fairly thick after mashing them with a fork. The recipe instructs that the raspberries be piped into the middle of the cheesecake using a pastry bag. I don’t have one (but I really should get one if I want to continue pretending I can bake), so I just sort of spooned the raspberries on top and then swirled them with a knife. So my cheesecake definitely doesn’t look like the pictures with the original recipe, but I will just call that “making it my own.” Into the oven, sans water bath (see simpler), went the cheesecake and baked for about 75 minutes.

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Once the cheesecake has finished baking, it will look more set around the edges and still slightly soft in the middle, leave it in the oven with the heat turned off and the door cracked open to release the heat. This is done to prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking and ruining all of your work.

Aside from the burned crust, I like this recipe. The cheesecake has a slightly lemon flavor, which I liked, and is creamy and not overly heavy. If you are ready to attempt a cheesecake, or if you are already a cheesecake baking expert, give this recipe a try.

Raspberry Cheesecake (recipe from The Kitchen Paper)

 IngredientsIMG_3651

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for pan
  • 12 graham crackers
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 oz neufchâtel cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (let these thaw a bit)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F, and liberally butter a 9″ springform pan.
  2. In a food processor, blend the crackers until fully ground. Add the ¼ cup sugar, plus salt, and blend to combine. Add the melted butter, blend to combine.
  3. Press the graham cracker mixture into the prepared pan and halfway up the sides. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  4. When the crust is done, remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 F.
  5. In a stand-mixer, cream the cream cheese and neufchâtel together until very smooth.
  6. Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
  8. Mix in the Greek yogurt until smooth.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared crust.
  10. With a fork, mash the raspberries into a pulp. Add the 2 Tbsp sugar and mix until smooth.
  11. Transfer the raspberries to a pastry bag, put the tip halfway down into the batter of the cheesecake, and pipe the raspberries around the entire cheesecake under the surface. Use a knife to lightly swirl the raspberries into the batter.
  12. Bake for 75-85 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is still slightly jiggly.
  13. Let the cake cool for two hours at room temperature before refrigerating overnight.
  14. If desired, top the cheesecake with whipped cream and extra raspberries.

Photos by Jessica McWeeney. 

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