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Cheryl Wantland got her recipe for the Best Ever Cheesecake from a cheesecake cookbook that a coworker gave her about ten years ago. She tried a lot of different cheesecake recipes out of it, but did not try this recipe until last year because it was a New York Cheesecake. She has always thought those were dry and did not like them much.
Then she tried a cheesecake that a friend made and loved it. When she asked for the recipe, it sounded familiar and she realized it was the same New York cheesecake recipe from her book. Her friend told her that the secret was to leave the cream cheese out all day before making the cheesecake.
“The cream cheese has to be room temperature,” said Wantland. “The trick is to leave the cream cheese out all day while I’m working.”
At the beginning of July, Wantland happened to see a picture in a magazine of a cheesecake with blueberries, raspberries and kiwi on it. She thought it would be a good pairing for her favorite cheesecake recipe to serve at the Gardening Association meeting later that week.
Wantland loves to make cheesecake and try different recipes. She usually makes raspberry swirl cheesecake for Christmas. Sometimes she adds a little extra vanilla or some almond extract to the recipe for a change in flavor.
“I love cheesecake. They’re my downfall,” said Wantland.
Wantland usually serves cheesecake for Christmas and Thanksgiving and for family birthdays when requested. Each member of her family is allowed to choose a special birthday dinner and dessert and she does all the cooking. Often the meal request is for her fried chicken.
Perhaps Wantland’s greatest culinary achievement was a lemon Baked Alaska that she made for her son-in-law’s birthday. As a long-standing joke, he asked for Baked Alaska every year. Wantland was not sure how to make it until one year when she found the recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook.
“That was the best thing I ever put in my mouth,” Wantland said.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Combine ingredients. Press into spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4 packages cream cheese (leave out all day)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing at low speed until just blended.
Blend in sour cream. Pour over crust.
Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center is almost set.
Run knife around edge to loosen. Cool.
1 small jar blueberry jelly or preserves
1 small jar raspberry jelly or preserves
Melt jelly or preserves in microwave until just a little runny. Pour over cake.
Add blueberries, raspberries and kiwi to top for garnish.