This weekend we bought a car. Sami had done all kinds of research and finally chose just the right car: in Germany. So he took the train on Saturday morning, picked up the car, visited friends in a city nearby, and came home Sunday. I stayed home and graded papers--and made cheesecake to celebrate with.
And while this cheesecake is really easy to make, like most cheesecakes, it tastes so good that it seems special. This one has a "light" touch in that it includes some cottage cheese (I used fromage blanc, which is really what the cottage cheese is standing in for)--but then the whipped cream on top negates all that.
I have a note in my cookbook from when I made this dessert years ago, probably in graduate school: "'Sheer bliss'--Alex and Karen". And as we sat at the dinner table the other night enjoying our cheesecake in silence, Julia asked, "So, is it sheer bliss?" I don't know, but it was pretty darned good and a great way to end a weekend.
Here's the recipe. Make it when you have something to celebrate.
Lemon Cream Cheese Pie
1 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon (consider using less)
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger
6 T. (3 oz.) butter, melted
(alternatively: 1 pkg. zwieback
1/4 c. (1 oz.) powdered sugar
6 T (3 oz.) butter)
Heat the oven to 375. Line a 9-inch pie plate with foil. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and butter (if you're using a food processor to make the crumbs, just mix it all in the processor). Pat the crumbs in the foil-lined pan to form an even layer on the bottom and as far up the sides as you can go. Bake for 7 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then freeze at least 1 hour. When the crust is frozen solid, pull it carefully out of the pan by the foil and then carefully peel the foil off. Return the crust to the pan. Keep it at room temperature while you make the filling (especially if you have a glass pan--you don't want it to crack going from frozen to hot!).
3/4 c. (6 oz.) cottage cheese or ricotta
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
Grated rind of 1 (organic) lemon
3/4 c. (5.25 oz.) sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2 large eggs
3 T. (1.5 oz.) lemon juice
Heat the oven to 350. Put the cottage cheese or ricotta in the food processor and blend for a full minute or until the cheese is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and process until that's completely smooth. Then add the lemon rind, sugar, and vanilla and pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, pulsing until incorporated after each. Add the lemon juice and pulse until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Let cool, then chill. When you're ready for your blissful cheesecake experience, make the topping:
1/2 c. (4 oz.) sour cream
1/2 c. (4 oz.) whipping cream
1 T. granulated or powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
Note: I have cut the cream in half from the original recipe: I think that more would overwhelm the cheesecake.
Anyway, put all the ingredients in a cold bowl and whip with cold beaters until stiff. Spread this atop the cheesecake. Let chill for a few hours, then devour.