Don mentioned that his cheesecake is 5 hours on his feet. While it
may be a spectacular cake the way he makes it, neither of us can spend
5 hours on our feet in a day. This is easer and still better than 95%
of the commercial cheesecakes you'd find in a store or bakery.
When the kids were home we'd always make the larger version, now the
smaller one is fine. Yes, it uses commercial crust, not as good as
home made, but you can make your own.
2 10" Pie Crusts, rolled as one
regular size large size
1 LB. Cream cheese, softened 2 LB
12 TBS sugar 24 TBS
2 TBS flour 4 TBS
4 eggs 8 eggs
juice of 1 lemon (3 TBS) 6 TBS
3 cups Milk 6 cups
2 tsp. Vanilla 4 tsp. vanilla
1 large Jar of Fruit (optional)
Prepare the crust and roll it out to fit 12" x 9" x 2" pan. Place the
crust into the pan.
Beat the filling ingredients together with an electric mixer or a
blender. Mixture will be thin.
If using canned cherries or crushed pineapples, place them on the
crust before adding the cream cheese filling. (Don Y reduces his
filling, probably a good idea)
Pour mixture on top of crust and bake in a 350ø oven for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and wrap in dish towel and refrigerate till cool
about 3 hours.
Yes. That's why I spread it over two days, presently. E.g., the pineapple
reduction can happen a day (or more?) ahead of the "assembly". The same is
true of making the crust. Refrigeration is a blessing! :>
Well, that trims an hour...
Presumably large eggs?
No! The pineapple reduction is the most tedious part! It's an hour
and a half standing over the stove with your hand continuously stirring
a hot, sputtering mixture!
Cut this out -- plus the hour for the crust -- and I'd be down to 2.5 hours.
Of that, 1 is spent packaging it for transport; another spent baking it
I freeze, then slice and place in individual waxed paper "cups"
(so the individual pieces can be easily separated from each other),
then freeze (again) until hard, transfer to a foil covered piece of
cardboard and slide into a covered box (that I have previously rescued
or built) -- just to get it to whomever's home. Hence the added hour.
[If the cheesecake will be staying here, I leave the individually
"wrapped"/cupped pieces in Tupperware in the freezer. SWMBO extracts
them 2 at a time -- a second to defrost while she impatiently eats the
first -- and complains that I need to stop making it for her...]
Trust me, it is *grueling*! You have to boil off the excess liquid.
So, "steam". You have to stir virtually constantly (lest the
sweet mess carmelize to the pan) so your hands are right over
that hot/steamy mess. Which also means you can't "wander off".
And, it invariably sputters and spits gobs of hot, sticky goo onto
Over the years, I've learned to do this hotter -- to cut down the
time involved (*to* 90 minutes! :< ) but at the cost of having to
deal with the hotter environment for my hands.
(I don't wear gloves when working around the house; I sure as hell
won't when baking!)
And, of course, it also means you have to let the stuff cool for a long
time before placing it on the crust.
My crust is very thin/flimsy (egg/butter/flour/sugar/bakpwdr) -- just
a token layer to keep the fruit from sticking directly to the glass
baking dish. So, when the fruit is thickened, it is relatively easy to
poke through the crust layer while trying to spread the "jam".
In my case, making "large" lengthens the time for the crust and fruit
reduction. So, a project that is already long gets even longer
(I tend to make cheesecakes in batches of 2 or 4 so its a LOT of time
in the kitchen in a relatively short period)
I "need" it frozen to get it out of the baking dish intact as it
will be traveling to *somewhere* -- across the street or across
the state (e.g., I'll be making one for a buddy to bring to his mom
in Colorado for her upcoming 97th bday). My baking dish has vertical
sides (not sloping sides) and sees lots of use for other baked
goods, etc. So, I'm not willing to tie it up waiting for people
to remove a slice at a time from the dish. Freezing it (AFTER
letting it cool in the oven, then on a wire rack, then in the
refrigerator) lets me cut nice clean slices and transfer them
onto/into wax paper "cups"/wrappers (so they don't stick together
and can be easily lifted off a serving tray). As the crust is
so thin, it also helps to be able to SCRAPE the slices out of the
dish and keep that thin butter/flour layer intact, under the fruit.
I can then put the slices on an improvised "cookie sheet"/serving
tray (just a sheet of heavy cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil).
And, slide that into a packing box to ensure nothing manages to
"touch" the tops of the slices (even frozen, any contact is obvious
when the pieces are extracted). In the past, I'd tried putting
toothpicks in the pieces to hold a layer of saran wrap off of
their tops. This didn't work. Hence the idea of letting the BOX
protect them and just wrapping the entire box!
If its "traveling far", then the box sits in the very bottom of the
freezer chest for a few days before "delivery".
As the packing box isn't really air tight (despite wrapping it with
foil and saran wrap), its not suitable for long term storage.
So, when I make one for SWMBO, I move the pieces into small Tupperware
containers (e.g., 4 to a 6-in-sq container).
She has trained herself to remove two at a time (instead of just one!).
It takes a fairly long time to defrost. And, she's not disciplined
enough to just sit and WATCH it. So, picks at the still frozen FIRST
piece, trying to chip off little frozen chunks. This keeps her
busy and somewhat satisfied while the SECOND piece manages to thaw...
[The idea of taking it out the night before doesn't work; she'd want
to EAT it the night before! :< ]
I used to make these for a friend and his wife. She used to get up
in the middle of the night -- allegedly asleep -- and help herself
to a piece out of the refrigerator, leaving a mess on the kitchen
counter for him the next morning. And *deny* doing it (sleep-eating?)
When I laughed at this explanation (thinking it an elaborate
rationalization for indulging in an unhealthy behavior), he assured me
that she is, in fact, asleep at these times. He's been awake and
watched her attack various sweets in this way!
The reason for wrapping the box or the air-tight tupperware is to
have a place where the pieces can thaw without letting moisture
condense out of the surrounding air onto the pieces. Esp important
in monsoon when the relative humidity is so high -- "wet" cheesecake?
I prefer a plain New York style cheesecake (no fruit), but usually end up
topping it with cherry pie filling to satisfy my wife. :) Blueberry and
apple pie fillings work well too.
I've used this same recipe for years. I think it's the traditional recipe
from the Philadelphia cream cheese box. :)
Title: Tony's Cherry Cheesecake
Chapter: Watson's Favorite Desserts
1 cup Graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup Margarine, melted
24 ounces Cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
21 ounces Cherry pie filling (1 cn)
Combine crumbs and margarine; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
Bake at 325'F for 10 minutes. Combine cream cheese and sugar, mixing at
medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a
time mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla; pour over crust.
Bake at 450'F for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250'F, continue
baking 30 minutes or until set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before
removing rim of pan. Chill. Top with pie filling just before serving.
I've made a variety of chocolate, pumpkin, and other flavored cheesecakes
but still prefer a simple basic cheesecake.
Some of my family members make this stuff with whip cream and call it
cheesecake. PLEASE... That's just cool whip pudding. :)
That's essentially just a block of cream cheese :<
I "thin" the cream cheese with heavy cream, sour cream or milk
(depending on the Rx i am targeting). This makes for a "lighter"
product -- one that folks seem eager to go for seconds or thirds
(a NY-style cake seems to be a "self-limiting" proposition -- one
slice is usually enough).
[I made a cheesecake as a ThankYou for a neighbor one Saturday.
She got home (at noon) to find one small piece left for her.
And, in her NYC manner, griped to me about it! "Hey, it's
YOUR FAMILY that are the oinkers!!"]
I'm not fond of cheese (unless melted on a pizza or grated over "red sauce".
Cream cheese is perhaps the most disgusting -- it just looks like a giant
block of slimey FAT! (I buy the 3 pound blocks from Costco)
I made some brownies for a neighbor. Daughter came walking out of the house
eating one: "Did you make these from scratch?" (is there any other way??)
"Wow! My mom has NEVER made them from scratch!" Her Mom didn't look too
pleased at that!
One of the best cheesecakes I've ever eaten was a bourbon cheesecake at a
local restaurant. Rich and creamy, no cracks, not doughy but not some
wimpy fluffy cake either. I don't know what their secret was, but it was
amazing. Ironically we weren't impressed with the restaurant otherwise
and haven't been back since.
The WORST cheesecake was given to us as a gift. I don't know where they
bought it but it tasted like sawdust and flour. Absolutely disgusting. Of
course, we still ate it all. :)
I never liked cheese until I met my wife. Her family was very low income
and would get 5 pound blocks of cheese from the food banks. So they ate a
lot of cheese. When I met my wife she would cut some up into slices and
start chewing. I'm like "you are just going to EAT it"? Up till then I
had only had cheese IN things (pizza, grilled cheese sandwich, etc.).
These days we eat all things cheese, especially pepper jack, smoked
gouda, or any of the specialty cheeses. We enjoy seeking out unique
cheese and giving them a try. I still don't care for any of the "moldy"
cheeses like bleu cheese or roquefurt.
Asiago on bread or seafood pasta is amazing.
A typical Friday movie night almost always includes a glass of red wine,
cheese, and crackers.
My sister-in-law is big on prepackaged foods. I can't stand the stuff.
Brownies, pasta sauces, etc. should ALWAYS be made from scratch!
When I was a kid, it was common to see (extended) family members eating
bread dipped in "red sauce" (big Sicilian family). This always seemed
"gross"; "where's the PASTA?"
As I got older, I eventually came upon the "attraction" of this.
First, I noticed that some folks eat pasta for the *pasta* (noodles).
Others, for the *sauce*.
[The different noodle shapes are designed to carry differing amounts of
sauce to your mouth ON the pasta]
I noticed that I preferred pasta harder (al dente). And, shapes that
were associated with carrying MORE sauce (esp fusilli bucati/lunghi;
though I'll eat "regular" fusilli/rotini in a pinch). I.e., that
I enjoy the pasta for the sauce, more than the noodles!
And, from there, to other sauce-based meals -- meatball grinders, etc.
So, now think nothing of just laddling sauce on a grinder roll and
calling it a meal!
I typically need more substance than that. I'm definitely NOT a vegetarian,
every meal needs at least a little bit of meat.
Must be nice... I love the way you say it so routinely, like "when we go to
I thought I had heard lunch was the bigger meal in most European countries.
That always seems harder for me to do unless we go out to eat. I don't want
to get up and start cooking a big meal in the morning.
I usually eat a decent breakfast, a smallish lunch, a reasonable dinner,
and a snack or two in the evening.
If we go out for breakfast, I usually overeat and can easily skip lunch and
sometimes even dinner.
The idea of eating ANYTHING within about 4 hours of rising is *so*
unappealing! So, if SWMBO wants a shared meal, it's either supper
or she's got to find a day when I've got to be awake early
(doctor's appointment, etc.). E.g., she wants the meal I had
planned for last night's supper as today's lunch. So, she made
a point of making sure I was awake this morning :<
("punishment" for not making the meal last night?? :> )
As I'm not fond of that meal, I'll coast through it in
anticipation of beef w/broccoli tonight!
The real risk is that I may forget to eat supper and find myself
having spent an entire day without any "food".
My wife regularly eats the leftovers of meals I have cooked, for
breakfast the next day. I just take it as a compliment and move on. I
also rarely eat breakfast, but a breakfast style meal at dinner time has
been known to happen.
I have no problems making a bunch of eggs for a meal (but, a BUNCH, not just
*one*/two). And, bacon is good at any time! :> I can eat a bowl of
"cereal" any time -- though, again, my idea of a "bowl" is more like a
Not fond of left-overs (though I will get two meals out of tonight's
beef w/broccoli). I cringe when I see folks eat cold pizza (having
ANY pizza left-over is anathema to me!)
When I was a kid, I used to enjoy Gerber's High Protein Cereal
("baby food") prepared with applesauce and hot milk. But, would
never be sufficiently motivated to *prepare* something like that
first thing in the morning! (it's no longer sold in stores so
I don't have to face that issue)
Now, I'm happy just drinking tea for the first few hours out of bed...
We often have leftovers for dinner the following day. Two days is my
personal limit though. My wife can't stand to throw anything out, so if
we've already eaten a meal for two days, she usually takes the remainder
for her lunches.
I eat a big bowl of cold cereal and a banana every morning.
My wife likes to eat the moment she gets out of bed, but I usually need to
be up for a couple hours before I feel like eating. Since I eat breakfast
later, I usually have less of an appetite at lunch.
Yep, it's fun to have waffles or pancakes for dinner every now and then. It
has been a while come to think of it.
The variants on this theme suck too. My mother seldom got sucked into
the recipes on Kraft Television Theater but she gave this one a whirl.
Luckily she didn't consider Velveeta to be edible. I think Kraft
unleashed the green bean casserole with canned onion rings on top on the
There is ONE thing that I make that "came off a can". I don't know what
the folks who wrote the Rx call it but we always called them "Hello Dolly
A crust formed of crushed graham crackers in melted butter.
Atop this, condensed milk (sweet, syrupy).
Then, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
Finally, flaked coconut.
Press all the ingredients into the syrupy stuff. Bake.
*FREEZE* and cut into finger sized bars.
EAT FROZEN. Like little candy bars!
Over the years, I've dramatically changed the quantities and types
of ingredients -- but the basic Rx remains the same. Tasty
for the chocoholics around you. And, absolutely the most unhealthy
treat imaginable!! :<
Growing up, the folks in my extended family would have preferred fresh
cannoli to cheesecake. Yet another huge time sink in preparation...
and mere gulpseconds to see it all disappear!
Again, I don't like any of these things so what I make has been largely
determined by what folks around me enjoy eating. And, as its no skin
off THEIR back, those same folks see nothing wrong with shoveling it
down in one day!!
[The appeal of biscotti is that folks can discipline themselves to eat
two or maybe three at a time. I wrap them two per package as one per
package would invariably lead to a second (and then third and fourth!)
package being opened. If you put three in a package, then they
WILL eat three in a sitting. With just two in a package, they'll
hesitate before opening a second package (cuz they think four is too
many). So, I can get a week's consumption out of a batch (for a "couple";
two weeks for a single individual)]
I'm learning to think beyond the "making" step. E.g., SWMBO gets a batch
of biscotti every two weeks. This gets tiring (2-2.5 hours per batch)
and hard on the hands (imagine mixing cement with a wooden spoon).
So, I got clever and started cutting the slices a little thinner.
She retaliated by eating THREE at a time -- and there weren't 50%
more slices in the batch so I ended up having to make it MORE often!
[She's now terrified that I may stop making them as it is really hard
on my hands trying to stir that "concrete". Keeps looking for a
cushioned spoon for me (does she think I don't understand her
motivation??) :> ]
I eat cheese:
- on pizza (usually mozarella on the dough, then romano on the toppings
and parmessan on the romano), melted
- on grinders (provolone/caciocovallo), again, melted
- on red sauce (siciliano pepato), grated (so almost melted from the heat
of the sauce)
If I order a burger somewhere and it arrives with (any kind of) cheese
on it, I send it back. "Cold" (hard/firm) cheese I'll carefully remove
from a salad/antipasto and sit on the side of my plate.
The siciliano pepato is reasonably hard to come by. Esp aged for a very
long time. I've managed to find what they *call* "suitable for grating",
here, but it is very soft -- not aged long at all. I used to bring 20
pounds back from New England on plane trips. But, it is REALLY pungent
and a hassle to get through metal detectors (lots of nondescript "blocks"
wrapped in metal foil???)
SWMBO puts cheese on most things. I'll be making braised asparagus
ww/ linguine aglio e olio tomorrow night (was supposed to do that tonight
but got distracted). She'll dutifully *cover* her serving with shredded
Romano (sheesh! How can you taste the garlic through all that cheese?)
If SWMBO drags out cheese and crackers, it'll give me an excuse to make
a steak (she's not fond of beef). Or, if I have a Bolognese sauce handy,
I'll heat some in the microwave and spread it over a grinder roll; gives
me my "fix" of bread, meat and, of course, SAUCE! :>
Unfortunately, they take a lot more time (I am obsessed with time).
And, not all folks appreciate the time (and expense) involved.
"Hey, if you can't taste the difference, why should I bother??"
I have to consider, carefully, who I'm "targeting" for the treat.
I try to make note of who likes what, and which variations (he
likes chewwy; she likes crunchy; little Timmy doesn't like nuts; etc.)
Plus, dietary/health restrictions (allergic to tomatoes; low sodium;
peanut allergy; etc.). And, "other" (e.g., I use liqueurs in many of
my creations; one "alcoholic" friend won't touch any of these -- even
if the alcohol has all been burned off in preparation!)
Amusingly, one of the sweets that I enjoyed most, growing up, was a
"chocolate cake with vanilla frosting" (yet I am not fond of chocolate).
Some years later, I was home for my bday and my mom asked if I wanted
"anything special". I said, "Yeah! Show me how to make that cake!"
She was puzzled and we spent some time trying to figure out WHICH cake
I meant. She finally exclaimed, "Oh, the BOX cake!" I'd never heard
it called that. I was expecting "chocolate something-or-other". When
I asked why it was called "Box Cake", she laughed: "Cuz its the (only)
cake that I make from a (premixed) BOX!"
[It's really not a very good cake -- more like the cake version of
white bread/air pudding. But, it is a reasonably inert "vehicle"
to transport the yummy "from scratch" butter frosting to your mouth!]
The other "favorite" is a style of cocoa-flavored cookies (did I mention
I DON'T like CHOCOLATE?? :> ) that are typically made over the holidays.
Almost like little fruit cakes: cherries, nuts, raisins, cocoa, etc.
They are a huge undertaking -- and practically no one (except my ex-BinL)
likes them, other than me. So, I seldom make them. When I *do*, I will
eat 10 pounds in 72 hours. And, spend much of that time on the porcelain
throne (WAY too much fruit for my system to process!). Again, a solid
day of work and they're gone in the blink of an eye...
Since I cook most of our meals, that's one of the things that always
annoys me. I can spend hours making a meal or dessert, but it only takes
a few minutes to eat it. That just seems wrong somehow.
Cookies are my weakness. Sweet, chewy, and easy to grab. I always eat way
too many in a day when I make cookies.
Not me, I request cheese if they don't include it already. Pepper jack is
best, cheddar works, American will pass if that's all they have.
Or go Hawaiian with swiss cheese, pineapple, and teriyaki sauce.
Nope, I'll pass on smelly cheeses...
A lot of prepackaged foods take almost as much time as made from scratch
foods. Sometimes we receive brownie or soup mixes in gift baskets. By the
time you measure everything out, add the eggs, oil, and whatever you
could have made it from scratch just as quickly. It tastes better and I
know what's going into it. Lord only knows what they stick in those
My mother-in-law doesn't have any teeth and can't/won't wear her
dentures. She also has medical conditions that limit her diet. Trying to
find things she can eat is nearly impossible.
My wife makes and decorates cakes often. She makes her own buttercream
frosting, but just uses the cake from boxes.
I don't like cake anyway, but the cake mixes do seem to produce a lighter
cake than anything I've tried making from scratch. Mine always come out
dense and heavy. I'm probably using the wrong flour.
Buttercream frosting tastes OK, but we're just talking about sweetened
fat. A few bites is all I can handle.
My wife also loves carrot cake with massive amounts of cream cheese
frosting. Definitely not my thing.
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