|An easy, pan-style, baked party cheesecake, made with cream cheese, sugar, lemon, eggs and vanilla, on a graham cracker crust, finished with a layer of sour cream and topped with your favorite canned pie filling.|
Easy Party CheesecakeThis party cheesecake has been around for many years, and was pretty popular back in the 70s. Yep, you guessed it - this is another old recipe that falls back to the days of my good ole battered Bell's Best cookbook!
I'm pretty sure that it picked up the name party cheesecake because it was easy to make, portable, and it quickly became a potluck favorite. Now, while this is indeed what one would consider a cheater cheesecake - meaning it doesn't qualify for the real deal award requiring a springform pan, water baths and careful handling - trust me when I say it's still a tasty cheesecake that I think you'll enjoy, and certainly a lot less fuss and worry. I don't think you'll have any complaints about it, or any leftovers.
Most often prepared as a pan version, this recipe is typically doubled for a party or potluck, but when I'm not taking it anywhere, I enjoy making it in a regular 8 x 8 inch baking dish for us to enjoy. You can also make this halved version in a regular, store-bought commercial graham cracker crust. Though there were versions without it, I always preferred my party cheesecake made with the sour cream layer on top. I think the flavor of the sour cream only enhances the cheesecake filling, and sorta makes it a little more "fancy."
This cheesecake is excellent served all on its own, as is, with a simple garnish of fresh berries, or a slice or two of fresh fruit, but traditionally it's always been served with canned pie filling to keep it easy. I had a can of lemon, cherry and blueberry pie filling in the pantry, but the blueberry was the eldest, so it got chosen today. Once the cheese cake is chilled, you can spread the pie filling on top, but my preference is to spoon it over the slices as a garnish instead. You can substitute a homemade pie filling of course, or choose your favorite homemade fresh fruit sauce, use a caramel sauce, or top it with a pecan praline sauce, among many other options. Use whatever cheesecake toppings that you usually enjoy.
It's a great dessert that is versatile, easy to make and everybody loves it. Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Easy Party Cheesecake©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 9 servings
For the Crust:
For the Cheesecake:
- 1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of melted butter
For the Topping:
- 2 (8 ounce) blocks of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- Juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1 (21 ounce) canned pie filling (strawberry, blueberry, cherry, lemon, etc.), optional, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter, and press into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degree F for about 5 minutes to toast; set aside to cool.
For the cheesecake, using a mixer, cream the softened cream cheese until fluffy, then gradually add in the 1/2 cup of sugar. Slowly add the lemon juice and vanilla and blend in; add the eggs and mix in on low until smooth. Pour into cooled crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Remove and let rest on a rack while you make the sour cream topping
For the topping, combine the sour cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread evenly on top and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Let cool completely and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving. Spread pie filling over the top or spoon over individual squares.
Cook's Notes: If you have any lumping in the cheesecake batter, you can press it through a strainer to remove them. 1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs is equal to about 8 planks, or roughly one package from the box. Can omit the sour cream topping and/or the pie filling topping, if desired. Doubles nicely for a 9 x 13 inch pan. Can substitute your favorite fresh fruit sauce or top with a caramel sauce, or pecan praline topping.
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