Here is the first of many guest posts on this blog. Shubhra Srivastav is an old friend of mine from undergrad. While she is a technologist by training and profession (she has degrees from IIT, Berkeley and Columbia and works for Intel) she is a great cook to boot. Here is a cheesecake recipe from her.
Go Crazy Cheesecake
Over the years I have successfully tamed my sweet tooth and rightfully gained a reputation for not giving in to even the most tempting desserts. However there still remains one little sin, a daily indulgence that lingers; coffee with a slice of cheesecake. Sitting back after dinner, always in the same spot, sipping coffee with tiny bites of cheesecake especially after a hard day is my little slice of Nirvana. It does for me (much more enjoyably, I think) what I assume meditation does for others.
I call it a “Go crazy cheesecake” as you can practically go nuts in exercising your creativity and it is difficult to go wrong if you get the basics right. Yes it is that simple. I make it without crust to cut out calories but some cannot imagine eating a cheesecake without the crust. Regardless, with or without crust, this recipe is a winner. Here it is.
1 cup of crushed graham crackers or finely crushed nuts*
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar **
3 Packages cheese (1.5 lbs of Philadelphia cream cheese) preferably at room temp
¼ cup sour cream
0.5 Tbsp Vanilla
0.5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar **
Orange zest of one medium orange
Melted dark chocolate***
1. Put a pizza stone or a ceramic tile in the lower rack of the oven and preheat to 400F.
2. Combine the ingredients of the crust and press them into the bottom of a springform pan.
3. Bake for 8-10 min until it begins to brown. It will get quite fragrant.
4. Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until fluffy.
5. Add all the other ingredients except for zest and melted chocolate mixing them well. Scrape the bowl a few times so that all the ingredients mix nicely. This is the only key step for not messing it up despite going nuts if you’d like.
6. Now mix the zest with a spatula and just drizzle the molten dark chocolate.
7.Put the mix in the crust and place in the oven on the pizza stone.
8. Immediately lower the temperature to 200F and bake for about 60 mins.
9. The sides should be firm to touch but it should be slightly soft in the center.
10. Remove from the oven once done and cool.
11. Chill the cake before serving in the refrigerator.
* I love to use almond meal (easily available at Trader Joes) for the crust when I make it with one. You can also used crushed walnuts or pecans.
** You can use Splenda instead of sugar if you want to limit your intake of sugar. Taste the batter and feel free to add more sugar if it is not sweet enough. It should be slightly sweeter than what you would normally eat.
I bake it with chopped almonds on the top.
You can also add orange liqueur and it gives it a wonderfully refreshing flavor. Frozen berries is another option that works well.
You can serve it with fresh berries or mandarin oranges on top although I prefer it plain.