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Flavor-of-the-Month Cheesecake

2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1-3/4 tsp. vanilla, divided
4 eggs
1 can (12 to 12.5 oz.) OR 1 jar (10 oz.) filling for pastries, cakes, and desserts
1 (10-inch) prepared graham cracker crumb crust
1 cup sour cream
Sliced fresh fruit or chopped, slivered or halved nuts, optional

In large mixing bowl at medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and 1 tsp. of the vanilla. Beat until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pastry filling. Beat until well blended. Pour into crust. Bake in preheated 325°F oven 55 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together sour cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and remaining 3/4 tsp. vanilla. Gently spread sour cream mixture over top of hot cheesecake. Continue baking until center is almost set and cake tester or wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean, about 5 minutes longer. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate until firm, several hours or overnight. Garnish with fruit or nuts, if desired. With thin-bladed knife, cut into wedges, wiping knife with clean, damp towel or rinsing knife in warm water after each cut. Promptly refrigerate leftovers. Makes 8 servings.

* Notes on Filling Flavors:
Apple: If you prefer a more highly spiced flavor, add 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.
Apricot: To bring out the apricot flavor, add 1/2 tsp. almond extract.
Cherry, Blueberry, Raspberry and Strawberry: All produce a colorful cheesecake shaded from pink through a rosy blue-red or medium light blue. For blueberry, add 1/2 tsp. lemon extract.
Date and Prune-Plum: Both fillings create a gingerbread-brown tone in the cheesecake. For a livelier flavor, add 1/2 tsp. orange extract to either filling.
Poppy Seed: The filling creates flecks of black in the cheesecake. To enhance the flavor, add 1/2 tsp. lemon extract and, for a denser cheesecake texture, add 2 Tbsp. flour.
Nuts (almond, mixed, or pecan): Add 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon and/or substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar.
Pineapple: For a piña colada flavor, add 1/2 cup flaked coconut and 1/2 tsp. rum extract.

 


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