Just Plain Luscious Cheesecake
2-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted (no substitutes)
4 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups (16 oz.) sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
To make crust: Crumble the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Put crumbs into a bowl and add 1/2 cup sugar and melted butter and combine well. Firmly pat the crust on the bottom and sided (almost to the top) of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate 10 minutes or longer.
To make filling: Cream the cheese in another larger bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, the egg and 2 tablespoons vanilla; combine well. Pour filling into springform pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 450ºF.
To make topping: Combine sour cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 tablespoons sugar. Spread this over the slightly cooled cake. Bake for 10 minutes at 450ºF. Place in refrigerator to cool completely.
Note: The real secret to this--or any cheesecake--is to make sure the cream cheese and the egg are at room temperature. I always cut up the cream cheese bricks into chunks and let them sit out at room temperature for at least an hour, longer if possible.