Today it’s going to be short and sweet. (Literally.) I forgot to tell you about this cheesecake.
One day while I was out in Jasper, I snuck samples of Anna Olson‘s classic New York cheesecake out of her CIN session to take a few photos outside – warding off the chipmunks – and then spread eagled on my perfectly made (ironed, even) sheets and ate both – with a magazine and a latte.
I always learn something from Anna and Michael – this year I managed to sit in on only a bit of their session, but learned that if you put the base of your springform pan in upside down, you get rid of that lip that makes it almost impossible to cleanly slide a cake server or knife under your slice of cheesecake to get it out. Smart lady, she is. And she always has great hair. (I do not. I try.)
Of course being the queen of everything sweet, she makes a mean cheesecake -and a super fab holiday fruit compote to drape overtop- and cutting them into squares totally makes them finger food. I think I like hers better than my standard cheesecake, one from the old Canadian Living Cookbook I’ve used since I was a teenager and 80s Mike decided he was mature enough to upgrade the angel food birthday cake of his childhood to a far more sophisticated plain cheesecake. Truth.
Anna Olson’s Classic New York Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted (plus a bit extra)
4 – 250g pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups sour cream (not low-fat), divided
2 tsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F
To make the crust, stir the graham crumbs, sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter until evenly combined and press into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool. Brush the sides of the pan with a little melted butter.
Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the 1 1/4 cups of sugar a little at a time, and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often. Beat in the cornstarch, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time, on a lower speed, and scraping after each addition, then beat in the yolk. Still on low speed, beat in 3/4 cup of sour cream. Scrape this over the cooled crust.
Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes at 400°F and then reduce the oven temperature to 225°F and bake for 25 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in for an hour, cracking the oven door after 30 minutes.
While the cheesecake is baking, prepare the sour cream layer – stir the remaining 3/4 cup of sour cream with the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar and the lemon juice. Spread this over the top of the cheesecake as soon as it has come out of the oven. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely to room temperature, then carefully run a spatula around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, then chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving. The cheesecake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
Holiday Fruit Compote
4 cups peeled and diced ripe bartlett pears
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup orange liqueur (optional)
Bring all ingredients up to a simmer in a large, heavy- bottomed saucepot, stirring often. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until pears are tender and cranberries have popped. Pack into sterilized jars and seal, or store refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.
Compote can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes about 8 cups.