This is a simple story about how in many ways our life is like the process of making a cheesecake from scratch. True, some people’s lives are more like the quick and easy no-bake or from-a-box kind, but most of us have to do it from scratch. This is also a great recipe to take to holiday parties or serve at the conclusion of your dinners. I mean, who doesn’t like cheesecake?!?!
It all starts with crumbs. Crumbs and a little spice and some sugar. Good with the bad. You add a little melted butter and hope you can make it all stick together. A base to work on. The foundation that starts it all and holds it all together.
Then the main cake. The filling. It has to be done in steps. There are easy steps and harder steps. Nothing you can’t do though. Eventually you start adding the different parts together and you start to taste the goodness. You don’t even think the last part is necessary. I t tastes just right without it. The last step, most time intensive, most laborous. Definitely not fun. But then it gets folded in, and lifts the rest of the filling that you thought was so good on its own. It takes it all to a new level.
You already have that sense of satisfaction of completion as you pour it on top of the crust you started with. The one you hoped would hold together and it has. You slide it into the oven and know you are done with the work. It will be whatever it is going to be. Out of your hands now.
With a little luck, there will be much to delight in.
1 cp graham cracker crumbs 1 cp sour cream
4 tbsp melted butter 2 tbsp flour (I actually substitute organic tapioca for flour)
1/4 tsp cinnamon 4 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cp sugar 1 pound of cream cheese, at room temperature
(you may use a sugar substitute but it must be granular in consistency)
Combine crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/4 cp of the sugar in a bowl and combine well. (I have used ginger snap crumbs instead. It’s my favorite adaptation. You don’t need the spices then. I’ve also left the 1/4 of sugar out completely and didn’t see an adverse result.) Butter a 9-inch springform pan and press the crumb mixture into the bottom and as far up the sides as you can. Chill.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat just the egg yolks until they are thick and pale. Add the sour cream, flour/tapioca, 3/4 cp sugar, and the vanilla. (I have substituted pumpkin puree for the sour cream…delicious) Beat until well blended. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Separately, beat the egg whites until stiff and “peaking”. Fold them into the cream cheese mixture.
Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pan with crumb bottom. Bake for 1 hour until the center of the cake has set. (expect cracking) Cool and then chill.
There are so many fun adaptations you can make to cheesecake. You can add liquors instead of vanilla (up the amount), stir in berries or chocolate chips, substitute different cookie crumbs for the crust, add chocolate baking powder or carob, instant coffee or espresso…the list goes on and on. As with life, don’t be afraid to experiment! Also, as with life, focus on quality-use fresh, organic ingredients.