Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Mary + Her Heavenly Cheesecake
My grandmother is dying, which at 97 years old is certainly not a tragedy, but there is great sadness in my world this week nonetheless. I went to say good bye to her yesterday, and sat quietly next to her as she slept, holding her hand, taking her in. I realized it would most likely be the last time I would see her--a blessing actually, as it's almost unbearable to behold her in the state she is in--and I wanted to thank her for everything she taught me in my lifetime. I thanked her for teaching me that there really are good, humble, honest people in the world, because she raised a family filled with those virtues. I never saw my grandmother ask for help, or be needy, so I thanked her for showing me that I too could be a strong and independent woman. I thanked her for watching Jack LaLanne on the old television set in her living room when I was just a child, so when I grew up, I would know that staying fit and active was important (I'm confident that's part of the reason she lasted to almost 98). I thanked her for her flawless matzoh balls, and her flavorful stuffed cabbage, her incredibly moist nut rolls, but most of all, I thanked her for her cheesecake. For my grandmother's cheesecake recipe is, as far as I'm concerned, the only cheesecake recipe; it's rich, and creamy, and absolutely heavenly.
Today, with work being the last thing on my mind, I bake. I bake cheesecake in honor of my grandmother, who I wish could be here today, in my home, to share a slice with me one last time, over a cup of tea. But since she can't be here, I will instead share the recipe with you in my grandmothers honor; I hope you make it and enjoy it, with her in mind.
Suzanne Brown 6.24.08
Mary's Cheesecake (PRINT RECIPE CARD)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine 3/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs + 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Press crumb mixture into bottom of springform cake pan.
Beat together 3 large packages of cream cheese, 5 eggs, 1 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 1 hour.
Remove cake from oven.
Mix together 1 pint sour cream, scant 1/2 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla. Remove cake from oven and pour mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and bake at 475 degrees for 5 minutes. Allow cake to cool, then refrigerate before serving.