Hello Everyone! Today is all about dessert. I am excited to share this one with you because I had never made a cheesecake before! Its reputation for being difficult has always deterred me. But for Thanksgiving this year, I want to do one dessert that was unexpected. We will have Pecan Pie, and Beth is bringing a pumpkin dessert, so this cheesecake will be the outlier. The rebel Thanksgiving cheesecake! This isn’t a pumpkin cheesecake, or anything Thanksgiving-y like that. Today we are talking about the classic Cheesecake. (But, I do have one little twist…)
The Cookie Crust
I found this recipe on a blog called, Sally’s Baking Addiction; it’s a classic cheesecake recipe. The only part of it I deviated from is the cookie crust. Classic cheesecake calls for a graham cracker crust, but I wanted to do something a little more interesting, so I decided to go with a ginger snap base. I swapped the graham crackers for lightly sweet ginger snap cookies.
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and move the center rack to the lower-middle setting. Then, process the graham crackers or ginger snaps to a coarse crumb texture. Transfer to a separate bowl, and add four tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar.
Once mixed, press into the bottom and sides of a springform pan. I used a heavy measuring cup to press the cookie mixture into an even, tight crust.
Bake the crust for 8 minutes. while it’s cooling, it’s time to make the cheesecake filling. It’s important to begin with room temperature ingredients to get a smooth mixture that you won’t be in danger os over-mixing. Apparently over mixing can create a deflated cheesecake in the baking process.
I have all my ingredients measured out because it all comes together rather quickly. We are adding each egg separately, so I like to crack them into separate ramekins. It’s just easier that way.
Using a paddle attachment, begin beating the cream cheese and the sugar on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and light. Then add the lemon juice, sour cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth, scrape down the sides, turn the mixer down to medium and add one egg at a time. Mix each egg fully before adding the next one. As soon as the third egg is fully mixed in, stop mixing.
Using a single sheet of tin foil, set the whole springform pan in the center and wrap the foil up the sides of the pan. This will protect it while it’s in the water bath.
For the water bath, you want about 1″ of boiling water in the bottom of your roasting pan. I used the rack that fits in my roasting pan to hold up the cheesecake pan. This isn’t totally necessary. If you don’t want the springform pan in the water, as an alternative, you can simply fill a sheet pan with boiling water and set it on the very bottom rack, below the cheesecake rack. We are looking to create a humid environment to prevent cracking and promote an even bake.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and smooth the top with a silicone spatula. Set the whole thing in the roasting pan and add the boiling water.
Bake the cheesecake for 55-70 minutes, until the center is just set, but still jiggly when you shake the pan. Mine went the full 70 minutes! If it’s getting too browned on top, you can tent it with foil for the last half of the bake. Once it’s done, leave it in the roasting pan in the oven. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door open slightly. Let it cool like this for one hour. Then let it finish cooling on the counter until it’s at room temperature. Then, it goes in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To remove the cheesecake, gently slide a sharp knife or an offset spatula around the inside of the springform pan. Then, release the outer mold. Use an offset spatula to slide under the cheesecake to release it from the bottom and gently slide it onto a plate or cake stand.
So, the Ginger Snap cookie crust is way more dense and crunchy than the lighter, crumbly texture of a graham cracker crust. The Ginger Snap crumb didn’t absorb the butter the way graham crackers would, so the crust is very butter forward. The result is no less delicious, but it is different. I think next time, I will reduce the amount of butter and maybe do a 50/50 ratio of ginger snap to graham cracker. Or, I will try blitzing candied ginger into a traditional graham cracker crumb. That said, I am very happy with this, my first cheesecake.
The Rebel Thanksgiving Cheesecake
My plan for serving this on Thanksgiving is to slice it up and have a variety of toppings so that each person can decide how they want to top it. I will have Bourbon Orange Cranberry Sauce, Lemon Curd and Caramel Sauce.
Tomorrow is the main event and today we are starting all the prep and brining the turkey. If you’re still looking for a side or two, try my Fall Harvest Salad or Cornbread Andouille Dressing. I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Take care and be well, see you soon! xo Kelly
A classic cheesecake recipe.
- Cookie Crust
- 1.5 cups Graham Cracker crumbs
- 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 4 - 8 oz. Blocks of Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Full Fat Sour Cream, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
With a food processor, process the graham crackers into crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter. Mix well.
With a paddle attachment on your mixer, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and beat until combined.
On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg until just combined.
After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing.
Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in aluminum foil.
Pour 1" boiling water into a roasting pan.
Place cheesecake pan in roasting pan and place in oven.
Bake cheesecake for 55-70 minutes.
When it's done, the center will be slightly jiggly.
Let cheesecake cool in its water bath, in the turned off oven with the door slightly open for one hour.
Then let cheesecake cool on the counter top until it's room temperature, then place in fridge for at least 7 hours, or overnight.
To remove from pan, slide a knife around the mold and remove the mold. Then use an offset spatula to slide cheesecake onto serving plate.