Very Cherry Cheesecake

This week’s Wednesday binge is brought to you by: Cheesecake! I managed to successfully bake my first cheesecake last week as a Valentine’s Day treat, and although I was intimidated by the process I was quite pleased with the results. Below are my all too personal guidelines for attempting to bake a cheesecake at home. I will include the recipe at the end for those interested in making it for themselves!

Tip 1: You need a special pan called a spring pan. They are fairly inexpensive. I got a 9 inch spring pan from Wal-Mart for a few bucks. Prior to last week I assumed cheesecakes were baked in regular cake pans and carefully removed from them, and now I know better.

Tip 2a: You need a lot of freakin’ cream cheese. I had to send my boyfriend to the store for a THIRD block of cream cheese because I assumed 2 would be plenty. This leads me to…

Tip 2b: Take a gander at the recipe BEFORE you go grocery shopping. Common sense, right? Apparently now that I have been baking for a couple of years I have developed a sense of cockiness in predicting my ingredients, and the cheesecake incident was a humbling one for sure.

Tip 3: Let the cream cheese get room temperature. I cannot stress this enough, because my impatience with the unmalleable cream cheese led to a broken hand mixer. My motor over heated and mixing the cheesecake mostly by hand resulted in a weird texture. However, it did taste great.

Tip 4: If you are planning on feeding one or two people with the cheesecake, a 9 inch pan is not necessary. Check out the mini pans, they’re cute and you will use less ingredients. My boyfriend and I ate more cheesecake than any human probably should in a one week period. Bingers for life!

Well I hope my silly tips help some fellow amateur bakers like myself. I used to get discouraged when I made mistakes in the kitchen, but now I know to recognize them as learning experiences.

Happy eating -Melissa

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Cherry Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup butter, melted

1-1/4 cups sugar, divided

3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup Sour Cream

2 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F.

Mix graham crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup sugar; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours.

Top with pie filling before serving.

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