Let’s talk about guilty pleasures for a bit. Maybe your guilty pleasure is eating spoonfuls of nutella one hour before dinner. I applaud you. Maybe one of your guilty pleasures is talking about your guilty pleasures. Wow, that is awesome. Or maybe your guilty pleasure is eating several slices of cheesecake in one sitting. We should be friends.
When people find out I am a gastronomic kind of lady they usually ask some version of the same question. “So what is your favorite thing that you have made?” My brain rolls it’s metaphorical eyes and I sigh heavily while taking long, annoyed sips of my chai latte. Come now, that is an awfully complex question...
The truth is, it really depends on the moment, but that is not the answer they want. So, if I must be broad and candid I have to say cheesecake. Hands down. Because, no matter what time of day, or what mood I am in, I will always, always, always, eat cheesecake. But, my favorite cheesecake is more than just a cheesecake.
First things first. In my mind, a perfect cheesecake is one that finds the perfect balance between dry and creamy. I expect my cheesecakes to be slightly dry, but not overcooked so that you lose that beautiful creaminess that can only come from pounds of cream cheese and rich egg yolks. This cheesecake is the perfect answer to my cheesecake demands.
This cheesecake has two parts, and though both are equally wonderful, perhaps the most dazzling and irresistible element of this dessert is the sweet and pungent wine sauce that graces the creamy cake with its presence.
This sauce is incredibly simple, and to be quite honest, totally drinkable. It is just that good.
True, cheesecake takes time and patience and a gratuitous amount of cream cheese, but it is worth it. Life demands treats, especially on Wednesdays.
So what is my favorite thing that I have made? Well, you really just need to try it.
Vanilla Cheesecake with Cranberry Red Wine Sauce
cheesecake recipe adapted from Ina Garten, sauce recipe adapted from Cuisine Magazine
for the crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut a circle of parchment paper and lay in the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan.
In the work bowl of your food processor pulse graham crackers until roughly the consistency of cornmeal. Add melted butter and granulated sugar and pulse to combine. Pour the crust into the pan and press it down tightly with your hands. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
for the cheesecake
- 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 whole large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until fluffy, 5 minutes. Reduce the speed and add eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly and pour into cooled crust.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees F and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off oven and prop open the door. Allow the cake to cool in the open oven for 30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for 3 hours at room temperature before wrapping in plastic and transferring to the refrigerator for overnight.
Remove the cake from the springform pan by running a knife along the edge to loosen the cake. Serve and Enjoy!
for the sauce
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup dry red wine
-3/4 cup cranberry juice
In a small saucepan combine sugar and wine and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the cranberry juice and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced by about 50% and has thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and chill. Serve over chilled cheesecake. Enjoy!