First Time: Baked Cheesecake

I decided that it was the perfect time to try my hand at a baked cheesecake. I had the wine/cheese party (above) coming up and I certainly didn't need an entire cheesecake in my frig. Although I would love every bite, I'm sure my scale would not. So here was my chance to bake one and share it for an event.

I chose a raspberry cheesecake recipe from Cooking Pleasures magazine. It was pretty easy, although I didn't have any raspberry jam. I cheated and put a bit of black currant jam on the bottom - which didn't spread well. So then I gave that up and just poured the cheese mixture on top. I paid attention to every cheesecake tip sheet out there and took it out of the oven when it was still a little jiggly. I'm proud to say it came out perfectly and was a hit.

Raspberry Cheesecake

1 (5.3-oz.) pkg. pure butter shortbread cookies, crushed (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup raspberry preserves, melted

1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed
3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 eggs

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil. Combine crushed cookies and melted butter in small bowl; press into bottom of pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly darker in color. Cool slightly; gently spread preserves over crust.

2. Puree thawed raspberries in food processor or blender until smooth. Strain through medium strainer, pressing with spatula to remove seeds. Reserve 1/2 cup puree. (Save remaining puree for another use.)

3. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter at medium-low speed until smooth. Beat in sugar and flour just until blended. Beat in sour cream, reserved raspberry puree and lemon juice. Beat in eggs one at a time. Pour over crust.

4. Place springform pan in large shallow pan. Add enough hot tap water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center should move slightly when pan is tapped but should not ripple as if liquid. Remove cake from water bath; remove foil. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate overnight.

5. Garnish with raspberries. Store in refrigerator.

16 servings