An elegant classic cheesecake, made with LOVE for your special Valentine.
Please note: Begin preparing the cheesecake one day before you plan to serve it.
To prepare the crust:
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Wrap outside of 10-inch-diameter springform pan with heavy-duty foil.
2. Food Processor Method: Combine all ingredients in processor. Blend using on/off turns just until crumbs are moist.
To prepare without a food processor (as we did)... Leave graham crackers in their plastic sleeve packaging and place into a heavy duty plastic zip lock bag. You may use a rolling pin to create the crumbs. Or set up the kids with clean socks and let them crush the graham crackers with their feet! Beware that the plastic bag doesn't tear or burst. This is a great way for kids to help out in the kitchen and get their "sillies" out before the serious tasks of cracking eggs and measuring milk begin.
Place crumbs in a medium mixing bowl, add melted Organic Valley Unsalted Cultured Butter and organic sugar. Mix well.
3. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan. Bake until crust begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool. Maintain oven temperature.
1. Using electric mixer, beat room temperature Organic Valley Cream Cheese and organic sugar in large mixing bowl until well blended. Beat in organic flour. Add Organic Valley Large Eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Beat in Organic Valley 2% Lowfat Milk and organic vanilla. Carefully pour filling into crust.
2. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of pan. Bake cheesecake until just set in center and top is slightly puffed and golden brown, about 1 hour. Turn off oven; keep door closed. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Stir organic blueberry spread (we used Cascadian Farms) in large skillet (not cast iron) over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Add blueberries; toss to coat. Spoon blueberry mixture over top of cake, spreading evenly. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Now here's the fun part! Run small sharp knife around sides of cake to loosen. Release pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Cut into wedges, wiping the knife after each cut. Add extra blueberry sauce on each individual piece if desired (the more the merrier!)
Kids in the Kitchen:
Cheesecake is quite easy to make, and children love to help out with every step! Maya and Mikaia loved creating graham cracker crumbs with their socking feet. We put on some fun music (Raffi) and the girls danced and hopped to their heart's content.
Pressing the crust into the springform pan is something even the littlest kitchen helper can do (and it's fun to snitch a taste, too).
Maya (age 6) practiced cracking eggs into cups, and handed them to me one at a time as I whirled the cream cheese mixture. Mikaia (age 3) poured in the flour, milk, and vanilla, while Maya learned the fine art of zesting a lemon.
The taste test..."It's really creamy and cheesy and it turns purple in my belly" - Mikaia (age 3). Maya has a fascination with luxuriating in the bathtub, and felt the cheesecake would be a great accompaniment to a long bubble bath (Happy Valentine's Day). "This is heavenly Mama! Can I eat it in the tub? Thank you cows for making all the milk for this yummy Cheesecake!" - Maya (age 6).