My sweet husband and I really don’t celebrate Valentines. We’re not fans of the pressure to perform and really we think we should be madly in love every day. However, this year we did have some friends around for dinner and as part of that I made this amazing cheesecake for our dessert. Let me tell you, if this dessert was only available one day a year I would celebrate the heck out of that day. This is a decadent, rich baked cheesecake that is best made the day before you want to serve it so the cheesecake can fully set and the flavors fully meld, so think ahead, but definitely make it!
Now, before we get to the recipe itself a few words about the topping. In the last few months we’ve had several folks mention that they love jam in a jiffy, but they just don’t eat that much jam. So the question became, can you use the mix for anything else and can you use only part of the mix? I’m happy to say that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding: Yes! Now, there is one minor caveat. You need to zip the bag up and shake it really good before spooning the mix out because there can be a very minor settling of the various things in the mix and without shaking you’ll get more or less of the sugar or the thickener or what have you. So shake first, but then go ahead. In this case we’re going to make a raspberry sauce which is lovely over cheesecake or angel food cake or by the spoonful using only a half cup of the mix. So it’ll go far with these uses.
That said, to the recipe!
Decadent Baked Cheesecake
2 sleeves graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar
24 ounces (3 bricks) low fat cream cheese, softened (You can use the full fat or the greek if you want, but do NOT use the fat free. It tastes awful and picks up a bitter aftertaste when baked.)
1 cup lite sour cream (Again, full fat is fine, but NOT fat free)
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
2 Tablespoons quality vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup half and half
Prepare a 9 or 10 inch springform pan by lining with parchment paper. (9 inch will make a thicker cheesecake, 10 inch will be thinner, the only change in procedure is the baking time). Prepare crust by combining cracker crumbs with sugar and melted butter. I like to mix everything in a large ziploc bag and shake it up until all the crumbs are well coated. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 325 for 10 minutes until toasty brown.
In a stand mixer combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and Ultra Gel and whip until smooth. This will take several minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom and beat for an additional 3 minutes. In a separate container combine vanilla, eggs, egg yolks and half and half and whip together. Pour a little bit at a time into creamed cheese mixture until all is incorporated. Whip for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Pour filling over crust and move to a 235 degree oven. For a 9 inch pan cook for 1 1/2 hours. For a 10 inch pan cook for 1 3/4 hours to 2 hours. The center will still jiggle, but, trust me, it’s done. Turn off the heat and allow the cheese cake to sit in the oven for 1 hour. Remove to the counter for 1 hour then into the fridge over night.
12-16 ounces frozen raspberries
1/2 cup jam in a jiffy mix
1/4 cup sugar
zest from one small lime
water or lime juice as needed to reach desired consistency
Microwave raspberries for 3-4 minutes until they are soft and have given up some of their juice. Stir in the sugar and the jam in a jiffy mix until fully incorporated. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add lime zest and stir. If the mixture is too thick, which will depend on how juicy the berries are, add a little water or lime juice to thin to a consistency for drizzling over cheesecake.
To serve: Cut cheesecake into small wedges and drizzle with raspberry sauce and whipping cream. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint as desired. This makes a really rich cheesecake so I suggest cutting into at least 12 pieces for a 9 inch pan and 16 for the 10 inch pan.