This is the dessert David Stoecsz has made each of the past 20 summers, when he and his friends go white-water kayaking together. He keeps things simple and doesn’t use a bain-marie (water-bath technique), resulting in a cheesecake that browns. He tops it with fruit and an apricot jam glaze.
- For the crust
- 1 3/4 cups (from 1 inner-sleeve package of graham crackers) graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- For the cake
- 24 ounces (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 5 large eggs
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons apricot preserves, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons Cointreau, for garnish
- 2 kiwi fruits, peeled and cut crosswise into very thin slices, for garnish
- 15 ounces (1 large can) mandarin oranges, drained (preferably no-sugar-added, such as Del Monte brand), for garnish
For the crust: If you wish to bake the cheesecake in a bain-marie, boil a kettle of water. Have a roasting pan large enough for the springform pan to fit inside, and wrap the bottom of the springform pan in aluminum foil to prevent water from getting in.
Combine the crumbs, flour, sugar and melted butter in a bowl, then press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. If you are baking in a bain-marie, place the pan inside the roasting pan.
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, lemon zest and juice in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed to combine, then on medium speed until smooth and pourable.
Pour over the crust. Transfer the pan to the oven; if using the bain-marie, pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes about 1/3 of the way up the outsides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour (if not using a bain-marie) or 1 hour and 15 minutes (in a bain-marie). The cake should be fairly set and slightly browned on top.
Transfer the springform pan to a wire rack to cool completely. The cake will recede a bit. Cover with plastic wrap in such a way that the wrap doesn’t touch the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Just before serving, transfer the cheesecake (on the springform pan bottom) to a platter. Combine the apricot preserves and Cointreau in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed through. Use a brush to lightly spread the glaze on the surface of the cheesecake, then decorate with the kiwi slices around the edge and the mandarin oranges in the center. Brush the fruit with glaze.
Adapted from an old Gourmet magazine recipe.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.