Home cooking: New York Cheesecake

January 10, 2012

One of my best friends, Jean Holliway, makes this dessert. A group of women get together once a month at a group member's home. She makes this cheesecake. It's a very dense, rich cheesecake. I commented to her how I liked it. She gave the recipe to me.

I make this every Christmas for our dinner. My family every year says, "Are you going to make that cheesecake?" My one son eats about half of it.

To decorate, I buy a can of cherry pie filling and spoon some over each piece as I serve it. You could also use a raspberry pie filling.

I learned to cook from my mom, Helen Gerhart. She was a cook at the Hotel Alexander. She worked from 4 p.m. to midnight. At home, you always found her in the kitchen, and if she wasn't there, she was sitting down and soaking her feet.

Back when I went to school, you had an hour for lunch. I walked home. Mom would be baking cookies, making soups or chili. I would see her assemble everything. She would say, "Now you stir the soup" or "Mind when you add baking soda to the cookie dough."

People don't always write everything down about a recipe. When people submit a recipe, like for our church cookbook, I call them and ask, "Is there any secret you use that you didn't write down?" My secret for this recipe is when it says turn the oven off, you must do that. Also, I never take the cheesecake out of the pan. When it's completely cool, I cover it and refrigerate it.

— Millie Eichelberger member of Washington Square United Methodist Church in Hagerstown. Eichelberger submitted this recipe to a church cookbook. For more information about the church, call 301-739-9344.

New York cheesecake

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In mixer, thoroughly blend graham crumbs, two tablespoons of sugar and melted butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom and up sides of a spring ring pan. Chill in refrigerator.

In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth and light. Beat in eggs, vanilla and cornstarch until just blended. Stir in sour cream.

Pour into pan and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce temperature to 200 degrees and bake for 45 minutes.

Turn oven off, and allow to cool with oven door opened slightly for three hours. I use a pot holder to keep the oven door open as the cheesecake cools.

When cool, you may remove the sides from the pan and cover and chill. I do not remove the sides. I put the pan on a plate and cover until ready to cut. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

— Courtesy of Millie Eichelberger

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