My guy and I spent an overnight in Madison this past weekend to celebrate 20 years of marriage. I really wanted a week long tropical get-away. He wanted a hunting trip out west. But with 3 kids, in the middle of the school year and a limited budget, neither of us got our way. We settled for a wet, cold weekend in Mad Town. It’s not where you’re at; it’s who you’re with – right???
To pass the rare 28 hours we had all to ourselves, we did some Christmas shopping, watched part of the Badger football game in a bar on State Street, had a very nice dinner at Tornados and then headed to the Madison Comedy Club.
*WARNING* Higher math ahead.
One of the comedians for the night said that 60% of marriages end in divorce. Of the remaining 40% that stay married, 50% of them are cheating on each other. That leaves 20%. Of that 20%, 50% don’t even like each other. With the remaining 10%, 50% of those only stay married because they can’t afford to get divorced. So out of everyone that gets married, there is truly only 5% that enjoy being with the one they said “I do” to.
Keep in mind, he’s a comedian and makes up funny stuff for a living and you should have seen everyone trying to follow his math and figure out where they belonged. But if this guy was a true researcher and his information was correct, I’m pleased to say, that my hubby and I are part of that 5% that enjoy being with each other. Our 28 hours alone reiterated why I said “Yes to the dress” I mean “Yes, I do” 20 years ago.
In celebration of being married to my favorite guy, here is my take on how striving to make the perfect cheesecake is like keeping a good marriage alive.
- You need several ingredients.
- There is prep involved.
- Patience is needed.
- There may be cracks but it is something we learn from and work on to correct.
- You can’t make the same type every single time. It can get boring. You need to change it up a bit. Add chocolate chips, serve with whip cream and berries, fudge sauce is good too. I’m talking cheesecake here people but if your mind was headed in a different direction – if it works for you, go with it.
- And just like a marriage, there is the sweet reward at the end that keeps you going back for more. Oh so good!
New York Cheesecake
Yield: 16 - 20 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours
The original recipe called for 1 tablespoon orange peel and lemon peel each. I didn’t have these in the house so I substituted with 1 ½ teaspoons each of lemon and vanilla extract. The original recipe also called for fresh whipped cream and almonds to garnish your cheesecake. These are good options as well. My family loves the caramel sauce on top but feel free to serve with whatever your favorites are. This is a good base cheesecake recipe that you can make your own easily.
My cheesecake browned quickly on top which every oven will be different. Yours may end up looking like mine or it may be lighter. This one tasted the same as others I’ve made with less dark tops.
To get a nice clean cut for each slice of cheesecake (unlike mine – we were too hungry to make it beautiful), dip your knife in warm water to heat the blade, wipe dry and make your cut. Wipe off your blade and repeat the process. You’ll end up with a beautifully sliced cake!
*For this recipe, do not use self-rising flour or vegetable oil spreads in place of the butter.
1 cup all-purpose flour*
½ cup butter, softened*
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
5 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
1 ½ teaspoon lemon extract, if desired
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, if desired
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup whipping (heavy) cream
Caramel ice cream topping
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Lightly grease 9 x 3 springform pan with Pan Goop, remove bottom of pan.
3. Make crust. Mix all crust ingredients with fork until dough forms; gather into a ball.
4. Press 1/3 of the dough evenly on bottom of pan.
5. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until light golden brown; cool.
6. Assemble bottom and side of pan; secure side.
7. Press remaining dough 2 inches up side of pan.
8. Heat oven to 475 degrees.
9. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, extracts and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute or until smooth. Beat in eggs, egg yolks and whipping cream on low speed until well blended. Pour into crust.
10. Bake 15 minutes.
11. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees. Bake 1 hour longer. Cheesecake may not appear to be done, but if a small area in the center seems soft, it will become firm as cheesecake cools. (Do not insert a knife to test for doneness because the hole could cause cheesecake to crack.) Turn off oven; leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool in pan away from drafts on wire rack for 30 minutes.
12. Without releasing or removing side of pan, run a metal spatula carefully along side of cheesecake to loosen. Refrigerate uncovered about 3 hours or until chilled; cover and continue refrigerating at least 9 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
13. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen again. Remove side of pan; leave cheesecake on pan bottom to serve. Cut into desired serving size slices.
14. Serve with warm caramel topping or desired topping(s) of choice.
Adapted from The BIG RED Cookbook from Betty Crocker, Copyright 2000, page 180