Some think of cheesecake as the national dessert of this country, although apple pie enthusiasts would have something to say about that. Nevertheless, cheesecake is incredibly popular in all its many variations. This one is closer to the original German Jewish recipes in consistency and in taste with less sugar. The graham cracker or cookie crust (I’m partial to chocolate) adds a modern twist, the original having been made with a regular pie crust—something also worth trying for the difference in taste, whether store-bought or home-made.
- 1 graham cracker or other cookie crust, or a regular pie crust
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
- 6 ounces Farmers cheese
- 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1/3 cup (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs, beaten well
- Grated zest of 1 large lemon or small orange
- 1/2 cup chopped up dried fruit such as apricots, dates or prunes or golden raisins (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If using regular pie crust dough, roll it out and line a greased tart pan, 7-inch diameter if you have one or use an 8-inch pie pan. Prick the bottom several times with a fork and bake for 10 minutes to crisp the crust. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit before filling.
- Let the cheeses and butter soften to room temperature. On a plate or in a shallow bowl, mash together the cream cheese and Farmers cheese with a fork or potato masher until well blended, smooth and creamy. If you don’t have superfine sugar, put in a blender or food processor and pulse until fine. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add the blended cheeses and beat together until well blended. Beat in the eggs and mix very well. Stir in the zest and, if using, the dried fruit.
- For a quicker preparation, cream the butter and sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the softened cheeses and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs and process until smooth and creamy.
- Once the filling is ready, fill the pie shell with the mixture. Put the cheesecake into the very hot preheated oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake until the filling is set, about 25 to 28 minutes. Let cool. Serve with fresh fruit or berries and whipped cream. Good also with a favorite fruit preserve spread gently on top.