I originally posted this Unbelievable Cheesecake in 2013. However, on this, my last regular appearance on KMOV's Great Day St. Louis, I chose to update it using the food processor. In doing so, this is the fastest and easiest cheesecake I've ever made.
This is the easiest of all cheesecakes to make – five ingredients and you're good to go (I don't count water as an ingredient, if you do it's six). When I first stumbled across this recipe, it called for baking it overnight. I did and I ended up with a large off white hockey puck.
This unbelievable cheesecake requires no crust, no water bath and can be put together in a matter of ten to fifteen minutes from gathering the ingredients to pouring it in the pan. A 2 ½ hour slow bake insures a perfectly smooth, creamy, delightful cheesecake with no cracks ready to serve plain or with a sauce.
While a springmold pan can be used, my preference is a cheesecake pan. This pan can be seen here.
I prefer to make this in the processor as opposed to the mixer but I have included instructions for both. It is far easier to get a completely smooth, lump free cheesecake with the processor but either machine will yield a wonderful cheesecake so don't hesitate to use what you have.
3 to 4 tablespoons graham or cookie crumbs
2 pounds cream cheese, regular or ⅓ less fat, room temperature (910 grams)
1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
¼ cup water
Spray a 9 inch cheesecake or springform pan with cooking spray. Add the crumbs and shake the pan to dust it with the crumbs on the bottom and about 1 ½ inches up the side. Remove the excess and set the pan aside. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Place half the cream cheese in the processor and process until it is smooth. Add the remainder of the cream cheese and the sugar, processing until completely smooth. Scrape down several times to make sure there are no lumps hiding. Add the eggs, process and scrape down. Add the vanilla and water. Process to make sure it is smooth.
Pour it into the prepared pan and continue to baking.
In a mixer bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar, beating until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom often to prevent lumps. Add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down every two eggs. Add the vanilla and water and beat to just combine. You do not want to incorporate air at this point. That’s it!!! Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven.
Bake for 2 ½ hours until the cheesecake does not “jiggle” in the middle. It will be very lightly browned. Cool in the pan and refrigerate until cold or overnight.
To remove from the pan easily, heat the sides with a hair dryer set on high. If using a cheesecake pan, place it on top of a wide can and slide the bottom down. If using a springform pan, release the side of the pan. Using a straight, metal spatula, loosen the bottom by slipping the spatula between the cake and the bottom of the pan. Using two pancake turners, one on each side of the cake, lift the cheesecake onto a serving plate. If using a springform pan, you cannot loosen the bottom because of the lip. However, the cheesecake should be firm enough to lift off using the pancake turners.
Note: This cheesecake freezes well if you wish to make it ahead.
Brandied Cranberry Sauce - I realized that the cheesecake would benefit from a sauce. Looking around I had a package of cranberries in the freezer so I quickly made this sauce. I did not write down the amounts but these are as I remember them. Cranberries have an enormous amount of pectin which is why there is no thickener used.
12 ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over (340 grams)
½ cup water
1 ¼ cup sugar (250 grams or 8 ¾ ounces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brandy
Combine all of the ingredients except the brandy in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add the brandy. Cover directly with film and allow to cool. Refrigerate.
To use: Heat slightly if necessary to loosen if too thick.