If cheesecake is being served, then something special is happening. It’s celebratory and decadent. In 2007 I started a dessert business called Diva Sweets and I sold cheesecake to restaurants and catering companies. Then 2008 happened. So I put baking on hold for awhile and focused on my health and fitness. Now I know how to make great desserts and take good care of myself at the same time.
Here are the beginnings of a great thing. Actually 2 things. The whipping cream and espresso powder on the right are for my Mocha Cheesecake that I made on the same day. I’ll save that for another blog post. For now, the focus is on the Peach Cheesecake that came from a Paula Deen recipe which I adjusted a bit by decreasing the amount of sugar, and adding cinnamon to the crust. I think peaches and cinnamon go well together. And I think that cheesecake crust is often boring. The same graham cracker style crust is used so often. I see the crust as an opportunity to add more to the flavor profile of the entire dessert. So that’s what I do. Take an existing recipe and jazz it up. There were no leftovers when I served this so it was a success!
I hope you make a cheesecake at least once in your life. It’s simple. Time consuming, but simple. I have to remind myself not to start one too late in the evening or I’ll be up until midnight waiting for it to cool. I also put out all the ingredients the night before so they can truly be at room temperature. The eggs, cream cheese, jam, whipping cream, sour cream, and anything else. If Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) does it, I can do it.
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar (white, baking, or evaporated cane juice crystals)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, room temperature
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup sugar (white, baking, or evaporated cane juice crystals)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ + 1 cup peach jam or preserves (preferably reduced-sugar but NOT artificially sweetened)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs with the sugar and butter. Mix well and pour into a 9-inch springform pan. Using a flat bottomed glass, press the crumbs onto the bottom and 1-inch up the side of the pan.
Bake for 10 minutes, then move to a wire cooling rack while preparing the filling.
Here’s a tip to make removing the cheesecake from the pan much easier. Use parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. Stretch a piece of parchment across the pan bottom piece. Place the ring on top and clamp it on. Trim the excess paper from around the pan using kitchen scissors. When you’re ready to transfer the cake to a serving platter, just pull it off the pan bottom using the edges of the parchment.
Prepare the filling by beating the eggs and cream cheese together until well combined. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well blended. Add ¼ cup peach jam and mix until incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared crust and bake until filling is set in center and edges are puffy, about 50 minutes.
Remove from oven to a wire cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake.
Top with remaining 1 cup peach jam …
…spreading jam just to the edges of the cake.
Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight, or longer, before slicing.
Have you ever sliced a cheesecake? If you’d like to not massacre it, please use my instructions below. You’ll be thrilled with the results!
What you’ll need: a long knife, a clean kitchen towel or folded paper towel, hot running water or a deep pitcher of hot water.
Hold the knife under hot running water for 20 seconds. Wipe dry with towel. Slice cheesecake in half by pressing the knife into the cake, then pulling it through. Rinse the knife in hot running water, towel dry, and slice again. Repeat this process until you have the desired number of slices.