Cheesecake, that is.
A few years ago when G2 was in the 5th grade, he was chosen for the lead in his elementary school's Spring musical production of Peter Pan.
Several family members attended the production and afterwards we had a little party to celebrate the occasion.
I asked G4 what kind of cake he would like to have for the party thinking he would want a cake shaped like Never, Never Land or the crocodile or Captain Hook's hook.
He took me by surprise when he said he'd like to have a cheesecake.
I hadn't made one in years so I went looking for the perfect recipe. I searched my many cookbooks and online.
I found this one for Chantal's New York Cheesecake and adapted it by making a small change or two. I've been making it this way ever since.
The cast of characters in order of appearance: graham crackers, butter, cream cheese, sugar, milk, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and flour.
Be sure to let all of the ingredients come to room temperature before beginning.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
I like to line the bottom of my spring form pan with parchment paper but that's just a matter of preference. When the cheesecake is ready to be removed from the pan, the parchment paper makes it easy to slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate.
After lining the pan with the parchment paper, grease the paper and the inside of the pan. If parchment paper is not being used, grease the bottom and inside of the pan.
The original recipe says to crush 15 graham crackers and then mix the crumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. I believe the recipe means to use 15 SQUARES of graham crackers.
I use 15 WHOLE graham crackers and after crushing them, mix in 1/4 cup melted butter because we like a little thicker crust.
Once the graham cracker crumbs and butter are mixed together, press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese together with the sugar until it's smooth.
Blend in the milk only until it's incorporated with the cream cheese and sugar.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time, again only until they are incorporated into the mixture.
The next step in the original recipe is to mix in the sour cream, vanilla and flour.
What works best for me is to mix the vanilla with the sour cream and then mix the flour into the sour cream mixture.
Then add the sour cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture and blend together just until smooth.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Fill a pie plate or some similar sized oven-safe container about 3/4 of the way full with water. Place it underneath the rack that the cheesecake will be baked on.
Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for 1 hour exactly.
NOTE: I like to put a piece of aluminum foil underneath the cheesecake in case there would be any overflow. That's never happened but I say better safe than sorry.
After one hour, turn the oven off but DO NOT open the oven door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 5 to 6 hours.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Release the side of the pan and move the cheesecake to a serving platter. Place in the refrigerator to chill until serving time.
Serve plain (like G2 prefers) or with the topping of your choice. I used cherry pie filling for this one.
New York Cheesecake
(adapted from this recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com/)
15 whole graham crackers, crushed
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9" spring form pan. (I prefer to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper before greasing it.)
Crush the graham crackers in a food processor and add the melted butter. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the spring form pan.
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk. Mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate.
In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and the vanilla together. Add the flour and mix until smooth.
Blend the sour cream mixture with the cream cheese mixture just until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Fill a pie plate or similar oven-safe container 3/4 full with water. Place it on the rack under the rack the cheesecake will be baked on. Put a piece of aluminum foil on the rack the cheesecake will sit on.
Place the cheesecake on the aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour exactly.
Turn the oven off. DO NOT OPEN the oven door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 5 to 6 hours.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Remove the side of the spring form pan and place the cheesecake on a serving plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.