I’m not the queen of cheesecake in our family, but I did introduce the queen to the concept, which I suppose is some consolation to losing the crown, right? It is the highest compliment to the teacher when the student surpasses his or her own knowledge and skill level. Nonetheless, since she isn’t in my house when the cheesecake cravings strike, I do make cheesecake…just not in the limitless way she does.
So, after having discovered that Italian style cheesecake was just never going to be my favorite, I abandoned the concept. I don’t like the texture of ricotta cheese in the cake, and nothing is going to make it feel smoother in texture.
So next it was back to the dairy case. This time, we’re going to evaluate the use of non-fat cream cheese in a Philadelphia style cheese cake. Granted, the rest of the ingredients are not fat free…but hey, we’ve got to start somewhere, right?
I wanted a creamy cheesecake and a shortbread type cookie crust. The next question is…do I want chocolate or vanilla or lemon? Tough choice there, so we consult our better half for a decision. Better halves, for reasons known only to them, are very ambiguous about what they want. I was told no lemon but he didn’t care.
Great, what a decision maker, right?
So, I’m going to make a vanilla shortbread crust, and top it with vanilla cheesecake, and then a thin layer of intensely chocolate cheesecake by reserving some batter and adding melted chocolate to the batter.
Here’s my recipes:
Crust (adapted from a recipe of Martha Stewart’s)
My version for cheesecakes
- 8 tbsp. butter, softened
- 6 tbsp. sugar
- 1 egg, beaten lightly
- 2 c. all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. vanilla
Beat butter and sugar together. Add vanilla and egg, and mix well. Add flour and salt, and stir until mixture is crumbly and well combined. Press dough in to bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan. Refrigerate while mixing cheesecake batter.
For the cheesecake batter, this is my recipe for a vanilla flavored Philadelphia style cheesecake.
- 16 oz. non-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. real vanilla (this is not the time to go ultra cheap with imitation!)
- 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
On low speed, beat cream cheese and eggs to blend, creating a smooth mixture. Add sugar and beat to blend. Add sour cream and whipping cream, along with vanilla. Beat to blend. (Remember, you want as little air as possible added to mixture.)
Reserve about 1/3 of batter for chocolate portion. Pour 2/3 of mixture into 9 or 10″ springform pan lined with the shortbread crust. Melt chocolate and blend with reserved portion of batter. Leave it “marbled” if you so desire…or blend it completely and evenly. Carefully pour chocolate batter over the vanilla portion without combining the two (unless you are shooting for marbled here too!) Spread the chocolate portion to cover the top of the cheesecake.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 325 degrees F. Cool and then refrigerate several hours or overnight (best overnight!)