I always knew my mom was awesome. But just to give further proof to that: She showed up on the weekend of my graduation with not one delicious cheesecake for me... but two!
Two cheesecakes! Properly accompanied by a basketful of rosy red strawberries, the perfect fresh complement to a decadent dessert. What's a girl to do with that much cheesecake?! Well, first I ate it that weekend with family and friends. Then there was at least a good cheesecake and a half left. So I brought a whole cake into work to share at the new job. Then there was still well over half a cheesecake left. Then, after pushing as much as I could of it on Dave (not so much a cheesecake fan, that one), it was just up to me. Slices and slices of creamy, sweet, rich cheesecake with a decided trace of fresh lemon from added rind, and a softened, crumbly graham cracker crust.
To finish it off, I did what anyone would do. Obviously, I had to blur the lines of "dessert" for this baby. You can't just waste good cheesecake, people. Over the course of the last two weeks, I've chased dinner with a slim slice of cheescake. I've skipped dinner for a slice of cheesecake. I've come home from work midday for cheesecake. I've had cheesecake and cereal for breakfast. Once you've stooped to my level, cheesecake takes on a whole new meaning. It can become a morning danish, an appetizer... a grab-it-in-your-hands-and-go snack. It's been truly revolutionary for me, really.
Anyway, it's finally gone. I'm a little lost without it now, as I'm sure you can understand. So my advice, for when you make this, is to limit the batch to one. I don't want all of you to face what I'm going through now— the withdrawal phase. But I do want you to make this. It's none of that fluffy, light, jiggling cheesecake junk the supermarket tries to pass off, and it's not tricked out with chocolate, brownies, kahlua, cookies or whatever the Cheesecake Factory believes should taint each slice. It's thick, filling, flavorful, delicious... and yet simple. The kind of thing your mother would make you (like mine did). I think you'll like it.
2 packages cream cheese (light works fine, too)
just under 1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
fresh grated lemon rind, to taste
1 small container sour cream (8 ounces)
pre-made graham cracker crust (or make your own)
Beat cream cheese until smooth, adding one egg at a time and the sugar, vanilla, and lemon rind gradually until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the sour cream and beat. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake for 45-50 minutes at 325 degrees. The top will usually crack. Shut off the oven and keep the cheesecake in for another 20-30 minutes, or up to one hour. Remove and let cool before serving with fresh strawberries and cream.