The Freshman Cook: Valentine Cheesecake!

  I have been making this cheesecake forever! I like to write in the margins of my cookbooks, and I usually write down the date I made the recipe and what it was for.  I also try to include my thoughts on the recipe, like changes I want to make, or if it was successful or not. From my notes I see that I made this recipe for the first time when my now 22 year old son graduated from kindergarten. I can’t count how many other times I have made this. I even made this when I worked as the chef in a gourmet restaurant. This cheesecake is the ultimate cheesecake. It is not dry. It is so creamy and rich. For Valentines Day, I made individual little cakes, topped with chocolate ganache and covered with cherries.          You’re gonna fall in love!!


3/4 cup finely crushed Vanilla Wafers

a short 1/4 cup of melted Butter

12 ounces softened Cream Cheese

1/3 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Whipping Cream

2 1/2 teaspoons Cornstarch

2 Eggs

1 Egg Yolk

a short  1/4 cup of Vanilla Syrup

1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put about 15 or so Vanilla Wafers  in a plastic bag.

Take a rolling pin and crush the wafers until they are

very fine. You can also use a food processor.

Pour crushed wafers into a bowl.

Add melted butter, and mix together thoroughly.

Distribute evenly between the 3 pans.

Using your fingers, smooth the wafers over the bottom

of the pan, making it as evenly as possible.

Set pans aside while you make the filling!

In your bowl, combine together the softened cream cheese

and the sugar.

Add the whipping cream and the cornstarch. 

Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

To get the smoothest possible mix, your cream cheese

should be very soft when you begin.

Add the eggs and the egg yolk, one at a time, beating

after each addition.

Add the vanilla bean paste and the vanilla syrup.

If vanilla bean paste is not available, use vanilla extract.

I like to use this paste because the flavor is so intense.

It especially comes out in this recipe.

You can see the little flecks of bean in the picture!

Pour the cheesecake mix into the pans.

This recipe makes three individual cakes!

Place all three in the oven.

Cook at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Turn down the temperature 

to 200 degrees and bake for approximately 50 minutes.

To check to see if they are done, stick a toothpick in the

center like you would a cake. Also make sure the center

of the cakes do not look wet or shiny.

When you take the cakes out of the oven, let them sit

on a cooling rack. Take a knife or offset spatula around the 

edge to loosen the cake. Don’t release the pans right now.

Wait at least 30 minutes, so they have a chance to cool.

Then you can release the pans, but let the bottoms stay on for a while.

When the  cakes are completely cooled,

wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to chill. Still keep the bottoms on,

or transfer them to some other type of base.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup Whipping Cream

Place the chocolate chips and the whipping cream

into a saucepan and heat on low.

Stir the entire time, to melt the chocolate,

until it is beautiful and smooth.

Place chocolate on top of the cake,

covering the entire top.

Cover the top with the chilled cherries!


Happy Valentine’s Day!!

This recipe comes from a cookbook called

Cheesecake Extraordinaire by Mary Crownover.

I have changed the recipe some. If you would like to make

a large(9″ springform pan) cheesecake, double all of the ingredients,

except for the egg yolk. Still only use one!

You can also use vanilla liquor in place of the vanilla syrup.

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