I don't know why I've always been intimidated by the idea of making cheesecake. It's one of those things that seems so difficult to prepare, but alas, it was actually quite simple- at least this recipe was. All you do is make a traditional crust, throw some ingredients into a food processor, bake and cool. Nothing to it. I made up the recipe as I went along and it turned great. I decided to make this in a tart pan instead of a spring form pan, which yielded a somewhat thin cheesecake, but I kind of prefer it this way.
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs ( I ran out of graham crackers and had to improvise. You could use only graham crackers for this.)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 sticks butter (226 grams or 8 oz.)
To create the crust, add the crackers and sugar to a food processor and blend until you have fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to a mixing bowl and then stir in the melted butter, making sure to pour the butter evenly throughout the top of the crumbs. Use a spatula to incorporate the butter into the crumbs well, making sure to dig into the bottom and fold upward. Add the crumbs to your tart pan and begin forming the crust by pressing the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Make sure you pack it well so that you have a firm crust. Set aside until you're ready to pour in the filling.
For the filling:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light sour cream
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg, plus one yolk
Begin by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees. Add the cream cheese to your food processor and blend until it's soft. Remove the lid, scrape the sides and blend again. This will help eliminate clumps of cream cheese. Next add in the condensed milk sour cream, eggs and lemon juice and blend until you have an even and silky consistency. You may have to remove the lid and scrape the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl a few times to break up any pieces of cream cheese. Add the mixture into your tart pan and bake for 25 minutes. Once the cheesecake is baked, remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before covering with foil and transferring to the fridge. Allow the cheesecake to cool for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2 cups fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sour cream
When you're ready to assemble the cheesecake, take it out of the fridge and remove the bottom of your tart pan. Transfer the cheesecake to a cake tray or serving platter. Next dollop the top of the cheesecake with the sour cream and smooth evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Wash the strawberries and remove the tops. Begin cutting the berries in half and begin decorating the top of the cheesecake with the berries. I did a round design, alternating between the inside and outsides of the strawberries for a little contrast. Slice and serve.