Everyday Cheesecake

I call this “Everyday” Cheesecake because as delicious as a big tall slice of silky New York cheesecake sounds, I don’t always have 4 or 5 blocks of cream cheese handy or a bunch of eggs to spare on something so frivolous as a cheesecake. So, I played around with a few recipes and scoured my favorite cookbooks for some good cheesecake tips.

In the end I came up with this quick and inexpensive version that uses just a single block of cream cheese and only a couple of eggs. You can whip this up the night before or even in the morning on a whim for an unexpected surprise dessert that evening.

Crust:

1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs

1/4 cup + 1 Tbl. butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a foil-lined 8 1/2 or 9″ spring form pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.

(I do really like Oreo crusts because it lends just a bit of chocolate flavor to an otherwise creamy dreamy dessert, but a simple swap for a graham cracker crust is: 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs + 1/4 cup sugar + 1/3 cup melted butter. If you tend not to keep Oreos or graham crackers on hand, other options are animal crackers, vanilla wafer cookies, and gingersnaps. Pretzels would also work, but you have to sweeten them adequately and work extra hard to crush them up enough so that the cheesecake filling doesn’t seep between any large chunks to the bottom. One last option I’m dying to try is a shortbread crust, like the bottom of a lemon bar. Can you imagine how yummy?)

Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten together

2 tsp. lemon juice

  • Whip the softened cream cheese and sugar until creamed together. Add beaten eggs and lemon juice. Whip until combined and without lumps.
  • Pour into the pan on top of the crust (it’s okay if the crust isn’t completely cool yet). Bake for 30 minutes until the center is set.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • This next bit will keep the top from cracking: Run a spatula or table knife around the edges to loosen the cheesecake from the pan. Cool another hour on the rack. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hours before removing the sides of the pan.

From start to finish this cheesecake is done and waiting in your refrigerator within 45 minutes. Could you ask for anything simpler than that?

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