So Christmas is over…and what have you done? Or more importantly, what have you baked? I felt a lot of pressure this year to bake desserts that were fabulous – I mean, everyone in my family knew I just finished pastry school, and assumed that I would be making dessert and that it would be not just good, but great. On top of this, I was hosting Christmas for the first time this year, so the pressure was really on to be fabulous. Now we all know that even a seasoned baker burns cookies every now and then. By some Christmas miracle, all my desserts turned out exactly as I had envisioned (minus the 6 slighty burned cottage cheese cookies, which my friend ate anyway because apparently he likes his cookies burned). My biggest sweet achievement this Christmas however was the flawless execution of my Aunt Cetta’s Cheesecake.
I know I’ve mentioned Aunt Cetta before – my elderly Aunt who was a fantastic baker (better than me) and has been giving me all her old baking tools and pans (see “on the lamb”). Anyway, I really wanted to make her proud and put her tools to some good use, so I asked my mom to give me Aunt Cetta’s Cheesecake recipe, and I’d make it for Christmas, as a surprise.
Well, this may sound hard to believe, but I had never before baked a full-sized cheesecake in my own kitchen. Sure, I’d done it at school, and I’d made the “no-bake” kind at home before I was in school…but I had yet to try a full-size cheesecake. So I was doubly nervous – not only was this my first attempt at a full-sized cheesecake, but it was my aunt the awesome baker’s recipe! There was a precedent set here that I had to meet, or else I’d just tell everyone I didn’t have time to make the cheesecake and secretly throw it in the trash to avoid presenting them with a sub-par attempt at this illustrious dessert and have them leave wondering what I actually did while I was in school.
That did not happen. What did happen was the cheesecake turned out great, and everyone ate it, and I forgot to take any pictures of it until it was almost gone! Thankfully, I was able to capture some in time, and will now share them with you, along with the recipe that has won my family over for decades. 🙂
Aunt Cetta’s Famous Cheesecake.
What you’ll need:
1 package graham crackers (I used the cinnamon variety)
1 stick melted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
What you’ll do:
In a food processor, combine the graham crackers, butter and cinnamon until well combined. Press into the bottom of an aluminum pie pan, or springform pan (I opted for the pie pan – 9″).
What you’ll need:
3, 8 oz packages of cream cheese (I used the low fat)
1 cup sour cream (I used the low fat here too)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
What you’ll do:
Preheat the oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and salt. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until well-blended and smooth. Pour into crust, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on what type of pan you used – the springform will take longer) until set. Let cool completely, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Whip up a batch of whipped cream, and serve!! 🙂
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