This easy recipe (the filling only has four ingredients!) was given to me by my mother-in-law when I was newly married. I have made it for Shavuos every year since, and everyone looks forward to it. Here I include a classic sour-cream topping, but on the following spread you can see easy variations using this classic cheesecake recipe as the foundation. Plus, I’ve included instructions for how to make the cakes mini for a beautiful presentation.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of cinnamon
2 (8-ounce) containers
J&J Cream Cheese, at
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sugar + 3 tablespoons sugar
1 pint sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. To prepare the crust: Combine crackers, butter, and cinnamon, and mix well.
3. Butter the bottom of either one 9-inch, two 7-inch, or five 4-inch springform pans. Add crumb mixture and press down to form the crust.
4. To Make Filling: Using a stand or hand mixer, mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and ¾ cup sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Blend well.
5. Pour cheese mixture into crust.
6. Bake large cheesecakes for 1 hour, or mini cheesecakes for 25 minutes. If it begins to brown while baking, cover loosely with parchment paper. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
7. While cheesecake cools, PREPARE THE TOPPING: Mix sour cream, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour over cheesecake and return to the oven for an additional 7 minutes. Cool well and refrigerate.
8. To freeze: Place a fully cooled cheesecake in the freezer, uncovered, for 1 hour. If it’s in a springform pan, remove sides and freeze with the pan bottom. After 1 hour, use a knife to separate the cheesecake from the pan base. Wrap cake in a layer of plastic food wrap and place it in an extra-large freezer bag. You can also add a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the plastic food wrap for extra protection for slightly longer storage time.