RANDY’S FAVOURITE CHEESECAKE

Dessert, Food From Friends

Serves 10 to 12

Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (4 tbsp.) melted unsalted butter, plus additional as needed

Batter

2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Desired Topping (see below)

Currant Jelly-Berry Topping

1 cup currant jelly
1 hefty tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water
4 cups ripe berries

Heat jelly. Put through sieve and bring to a simmer. Blend cornstarch with water and stir into jelly until clear. Let cool. Arrange fruit on top of cheesecake and brush with cooled jelly.

Sour Cherry Topping

16-ounce can pitted sour cherries, drained, liquid reserved
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Set rack on center shelf. Lightly butter sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

2. To make crust, combine all ingredients and pat evenly over bottom of the pan. Using pie weights on wax paper, bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, remove pie weights and wax paper, and lower oven temperature to 325°F.

3. Make batter: Gradually combine all ingredients in mixer until smooth. Pour into pan and bake 1 hour. Turn off heat and leave cake in oven with door closed 1 hour longer. Let cool, then top with fruit, or serve plain.

This needs time to set; refrigerate several hours before serving.

Tip: The hour in the closed oven allows the cheesecake to cool very gradually, reducing the likelihood of splitting.

For Fillings:

Currant Jelly-Berry Topping

Heat jelly. Put through sieve and bring to a simmer. Blend cornstarch with water and stir into jelly until clear. Let cool. Arrange fruit on top of cheesecake and brush with cooled jelly.

Sour Cherry Topping

Add water to cherry liquid to equal 3/4 cup. Combine sugar and cornstarch; blend in with cherry liquid. Simmer 5 minutes and add lemon juice and cherries. Let cool, then spread over cake.

Tip: Sour cherry juice is an old folk remedy for easing arthritis pain because anthocyanins, the pigment that gives them their vibrant hue, offers 10 times the anti-inflammatory relief of aspirin without irritating the stomach.