It is that time of year… my favorite time of the year. It is time for Rita’s Cheesecake. The thick, creamy, NY-style cheesecake that I eat only once a year.
Doing a little dance (trying to get my metabolism up so that my body can handle the incoming food I plan on eating).
Rita’s cheesecake is simply my favorite cheese cake bar none. The recipe is from Rita, an old friend of my mother’s from the old neighborhood in Brooklyn (circa 1984) and it is part of the menu for Shavuot. This cheesecake is the essence of the holiday menu. Without one or the other the holiday just feels incomplete. Empty even.
2 cups of crushed unsalted saltines or ritz crackers
1/2 cup of melted butter
1/8 cup of water
1 pound non-whipped cream cheese (I use two packages of Philadelphia cream cheese)
1/2 cup of white sugar
1.5 packets vanilla sugar
1/2 packet of vanilla sugar
8 Ounces sour cream
Preheat the oven to 375 F to bake the crust. Place your mixing bowl, a second bowl and whisk in the freezer. You want it cold for later.
Step 1: Place 3 crackers/saltines in the food processor and pulse until the crackers are finely ground. Take out and place in a separate bowl. You will use this for the cheesecake filling
Step 2: Melt the butter (I do it on the stove top – make sure it does not burn)
Step 3: Add saltines/crackers to the food processor and pulse until they are finely grounded
Step 4: Pour ground saltines/crackers into a bowl and mix in the melted butter + water.
Step 5: Butter the 9″ pie tin
Step 6: Pour the crust mixture into the pan, use your hands to evenly disperse the crust so that it is flat on the bottom and comes up the sites. Pat it all down.
Step 7: Bake for 10 minutes and let it cool COMPLETELY before placing the cream cheese mixture in.
Step 8: Separate the 3 egg yolks from the whites
Step 9: Beat the egg whites until stiff on a medium speed.
Step 10: Gently place the egg whites in the second (cold) bowl
Step 11: Beat the 1/2 cup of sugar, 1.5 packets of vanilla sugar and 3 egg yolks
Step 12: Add the cream cheese, 3 ground crackers and beat for 5 minutes
Step 13: By hand, gently fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture. GENTLY.
Step 14: Scrape out the cream cheese mixture and pour it into your cooled crust
Bake in the oven at 350 for 50 minutes.
Let the cake cool –
Last steps: Mix the sour cream + vanilla sugar and pour over the cake. Refrigerate to serve.