Vermont is absolutely breathtaking this time of year. The hills and mountainsides explode with rich, deep fall hues, and devoted leaf peepers make a yearly pilgrimage there to experience the profusion of colors. I sincerely admire their desire to immerse themselves in the brilliance and splendor of the foliage, and I applaud their efforts to travel to Vermont for the very purpose of seeing and photographing leaves. I confess that this desire is completely unfamiliar to me.
We traveled to Vermont this past holiday weekend to attend the wedding of my beautiful niece, Suzanne, and her fiancee, Vinny. Our family gathered at a condo on Stratton Mountain, where we ate, drank, and enjoyed the company of loved ones who have chosen to live a plane-ride away. We all brought food and nibbles, and a special request was made for my favorite cheesecake!
If you like a creamy cheesecake, this is the recipe for you! You can add your favorite topping, or eat it plain…scrumptious either way.
For the crust: 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, 5 1/2 tbsp. melted butter.
For the filling: 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese (room temp), 1 cup sugar, 3 large eggs (room temp), 1 pint sour cream (room temp), 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract.
Position one rack in center of oven, and second rack in the lowest third of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in small bowl until well blended. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of 9″ springform pan with 2 3/4 inch-high sides. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just to blend after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Fold in sour cream thoroughly. Pour batter into prepared pan. Set cheesecake pan on center rack. Fill small pan with water and place on bottom rack.
Bake cheesecake for 40 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand in warm oven for 1 hour. Do not open oven door. Transfer to rack to cool. Cover and chill until cold.
This weekend, I, too, will take time to “peep” at the changing leaves and beautiful colors of the fall foliage…right here in my own backyard!
Note: Does your cheesecake crack? SO many of mine did, and I think I’ve finally solved the problem. When the cheesecake filling rises above the graham cracker crust, it tends to stick to the sides of the springform pan. If this occurs, simply take a thin, sharp knife and run it around the edge of the cheesecake to release it from the sides when you remove the cake from the oven. I’ve also found that when the graham cracker crust is slightly higher than the filling, I avoid the problem completely. Hope this helps!