If I could invite anyone in the world to help me write about cooking and baking as a guest blogger, it would be my grandma. As a child growing up in Brooklyn, visiting grandma was always a special treat because no one cooked like grandma. I can still remember the smells that wafted out of the kitchen as we walked in the front door.
My grandma grew up in Poland at the turn of the century. This brought its fair share of challenges, as you can imagine. Shortages were common and there was no such thing as processed food. Everything that came out of her kitchen in the old country was, by necessity, homemade. It’s amazing what she could do with just a few staple ingredients.
One of my favorite dishes was her cheesecake.
This ain’t your mass-produced Cheesecake Factory slice here. Grandma didn’t have access to ricotta. Like everything else, she used a few staples and kept it simple.
I love making my grandma’s cheesecake for family and friends. It’s a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
Now I’d love to stay true to the original recipe, but let’s be real – I don’t have time to make absolutely everything from scratch like she used to (sorry Grams!). So I incorporated a few hacks into her recipe and updated it for 21st century New York. It still has the old-fashioned taste, but now it’s easier for time-starved New Yorkers to make.
- ½ cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 packs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (accept no substitutes!)
- 1 Tbs of vanilla extract
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 1 premade graham cracker crust. You can make your own if you want, but that’s a lot of time and effort and in my experience there isn’t a significant value add.
- 1 can of pie filling of choice. Cherry is a fan favorite.
The instructions are as simple as the ingredients.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Any higher and you risk drying out the crust.
- Add all sugar, eggs, cream cheese, vanilla, and lemon to a mixing bowl.
- Whip it to a nice thick consistency with a hand beater or electric mixer.
- Pour your mixture into your pie crust.
- Pop it into your preheated oven for about an hour. Check on it intermittently starting at the 45-minute mark. You’ve come too far to let that baby burn. Remove it once you see a nice golden color.
- Let it sit and cool. (This is the hardest part, but you can always lick the batter out of the beaters if your willpower fails).
- Once cool, spread your pie filling on top and refrigerate.