Cheesecake is the best, isn’t it? But it can also be such a personal dessert–some like a stiffer cheesecake while others prefer creamy. As cheesecake is one of our favorite desserts, I’ve made several throughout the years with varying success. I’ve had some crack nastily across the top, some that turned out dry and mealy, others that required cooking in a water bath, and others that just didn’t fit the bill.
A few years ago, I clipped a Cherry Cheesecake recipe from Real Simple and finally one Father’s Day I made it for dessert. The cheesecake tasted amazing and it came out perfectly. However, the suggested crust was a gingersnap crust that wasn’t a favorite of anyone’s. The next time I made the cheesecake, I remembered the crust I made for a cookie dough cheesecake using vanilla wafers (from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook) and the pairing was heaven.
This cheesecake is now my go to dessert when I want to make something from scratch that will be a crowd pleaser but won’t take a ton of effort on my part. And the leftovers–if there are any–are just as delicious as that first slice.
Perfect Cherry Cheesecake
Serves 12; Takes 5 hours (including 4 hours of cooling time)
Vanilla Wafer Crust
2 cups vanilla wafter cookie crumbs (≅11 oz box of Nilla Wafers)
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Crush cookies into crumbs. I use a food processor, though a heavy duty ziploc and a rolling pin would work just as well. Add salt and brown sugar to cookie crumbs and mix well.
2. Pour crumbs into a 9-inch round springform pan. Add melted butter and mix well. Press cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan and up 1-2 inches around the sides. I like to use the bottom/sides of a measuring cup for this step (see picture below).
3. Bake for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
*Note: using an entire box of Nilla wafers will result in a fairly thick crust. If you prefer a thinner crust, simply use less of the cookies.
3 8-ounce cream cheese bars, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar (divided)
2 large eggs
2 cups sour cream (divided)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (divided)
1/2 cup cherry preserves (cherry pie filling)
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Beat together cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add ½ cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and combine.
2. Pour mixture into the cooled crust. The mixture will likely fill above the sides of the crust. Bake until just set, about 40 to 45 minutes. The middle will jiggle slightly and that’s OK.
3. While the cheesecake is cooking, combine the remaining 1 ½ cup sour cream, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. After the initial round of baking in step 2, carefully spread the sour cream mixture over the hot cheesecake and bake until set–another 3-5 minutes.
4. Remove cheesecake from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 4 hours (cheesecake can be made up to 2 days in advance).
5. Spread the preserves over the cheesecake before serving.
Sour cream seems like a strange addition to cheesecake, but the results are so tasty! This is a creamier cheesecake than traditional New York style, but it still stands up nicely. We’re cherry fans, but this cheesecake would be great with any other type of berry fruit–fresh or preserved.
Are you a cheesecake fan?
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