Ella's Perfect Cheesecake

Ella's perfect cheesecake with red raspberry puree.

I have the cutest nieces and nephews and I love them all. I call them my faux grandchildren. This is Ella (pictured below with her Mom) and she is thirteen and she is just a chip off the old family block. She loves to work in the kitchen and let me tell you she can do anything you can do, only better. She is much more handy with a knife than I will ever be. Her Dad used to be a chef so she has been properly trained. I don't think at this age I could have baked a cheesecake that tastes and looks this good.  She made this cheesecake for her Mom's 40th birthday and it was fabulous. 

Ella and her sister Emily (now driving every chance she gets).

Lucas, Ella's brother who throws an unbelievable baseball with strength and accuracy.

Give this recipe a try and keep up with a thirteen year old. 
I guarantee you won't be disappointed .

You will need:
9 inch, 2 3/4 inch high springform pan
Heavy-duty, 18 inch wide aluminum foil
A large, high sided roasting pan


2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
pinch salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt), melted

2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

12 ounces frozen raspberries
1/4 cup for less, to taste

1. Prepare the springform pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking. Place a large 18 inch by 18 inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the springform pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the outside of the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don't create any holes in the foil. If there are any holes, water will get into the pan and ruin the crust. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan, and repeat, gently folding up the sides of the foil around the outside of the pan and pressing the foil against the pan. To be triply safe, repeat with a third layer of heavy duty foil. Gently crimp the top of the foil sheets around the top edge of the pan.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lower third of the oven. Pulse the graham crackers an a food processor or blender until finely ground. Put in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Use your (clean) hands to stir in the melted butter.

3. Put all but 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the springform pan. (Save the remaining 1/4 cup for if you happen to have any holes that need to be filled in, either while you are making the crust , or after the cake has coked and you've unfolded its.) Gently press down on the crumbs using your fingers, until the crumbs are a nice even layer at the bottom of the pan, with maybe just a slight rise along the inside edges of the pan. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. 

4. Make the filling:
Cut the cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, with paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until smooth, soft and creamy. Add the sugar, beat for 4 minutes more. Add the salt and vanilla, beating after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the sour cream, beat until incorporated. Add the heavy cream, beat until incorporated. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer that paddle attachment has failed to incorporate. 

5. Cook the cheesecake:
Place the foil wrapped springform pan in a large, high sided roasting pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, over the graham cracker crust. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place the roasting pan with the springform pan in it, in the oven, on the lower rack. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan (without touching the hot oven), to create a water bath for the cheesecake, pouring until the water reach halfway up the side of the springform pan, about 1 1/4 inches. (Alternatively you can add the water before putting the pan in the oven, whichever is easier for you.) Cook at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

6. Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the door about an inch and let the cake cool in the oven, as the oven cools, for another hour. This gentle cooling will help prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking.

7. Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn't actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.

Raspberry Puree for topping:
1-12 ounce bag of frozen unsweetened raspberries
14 cup granulated white sugar, less if you don't want this much sugar, what ever your taste is.

Thaw the unsweetened frozen raspberries in a fine mesh strainer placed over a large bowl. (This will take a few hours at room temperature or you can defrost them in the microwave. Once the berries have completely thawed, force the juice from the berries by gently pressing the berries with the back of a spoon. All that should remain in the strainer are the raspberry seeds. Throw away the seeds. Add the sugar to the raspberries and stir until sugar dissolves.   Makes about 3/4 cup. 

adapted from Simply Recipes


Stacie said…
Love those pictures!!!