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Classic Cheesecake

Holiday 2020
F202006056.jpg
food and drink

BY: Joanne Yolles

Simple and classic. Cheesecake as it should be… for the purist. This recipe includes a familiar graham cracker crust and smooth cream cheese layer topped with a thin blanket of lightly sweetened sour cream. One of the first keys to the success of this recipe is having the ingredients at room temperature. Start with the standard Philadelphia Cream Cheese and take it out of the fridge about 2 hours before you plan to bake—the cheese needs to be quite so‑. If you forget to take the eggs out of the fridge, there’s a quick solve: before cracking them, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes or so. As for the mixing, keep it to a minimum, just enough to create a smooth consistency. Overmixing will cause aeration and ultimately unwanted cracks in the cake. Lastly, look for “the wobble.” The cream cheese layer will be perfectly baked when the sides are dry and just a little bit puffed, while the centre is still so‑ and has a Jello-like wobble.

CRUST
1½ cups (375 mL) graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
6 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter, melted

FILLING
3 pkgs (each 250 g) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature

TOPPING
1 container (250 mL) sour cream, room temperature
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
1/4 tsp (1 mL) vanilla

1. Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. For the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter and toss with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the mixture to a 9½ inch (24-cm) springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom using the flat bottom of a small drinking glass. Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).

4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand-held electric mixer), beat the cream cheese on low-medium speed just until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating at low-medium speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater. Beat just until the mixture is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Add the vanilla and mix just until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until incorporated. Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the mixture will become too aerated; this may cause the cheesecake to puff too much and crack.

5. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 40 minutes or just until the sides of the cake are slightly puffed and the centre is still wobbly. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F(200°C).

7. Prepare the topping by stirring together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Distribute dollops of the sour cream mixture over the warm cake and, using a small off-set metal spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the sour cream in an even layer. Return the cake to the oven for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and release the springform ring. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

8. To cut the cake with clean edges, run a sharp knife under hot water then dry it well. Repeat for each slice.

Serves 10 to 12

F202006056.jpg
food and drink

Classic Cheesecake

Holiday 2020

BY: Joanne Yolles

Simple and classic. Cheesecake as it should be… for the purist. This recipe includes a familiar graham cracker crust and smooth cream cheese layer topped with a thin blanket of lightly sweetened sour cream. One of the first keys to the success of this recipe is having the ingredients at room temperature. Start with the standard Philadelphia Cream Cheese and take it out of the fridge about 2 hours before you plan to bake—the cheese needs to be quite so‑. If you forget to take the eggs out of the fridge, there’s a quick solve: before cracking them, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes or so. As for the mixing, keep it to a minimum, just enough to create a smooth consistency. Overmixing will cause aeration and ultimately unwanted cracks in the cake. Lastly, look for “the wobble.” The cream cheese layer will be perfectly baked when the sides are dry and just a little bit puffed, while the centre is still so‑ and has a Jello-like wobble.

CRUST
1½ cups (375 mL) graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
6 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter, melted

FILLING
3 pkgs (each 250 g) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature

TOPPING
1 container (250 mL) sour cream, room temperature
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
1/4 tsp (1 mL) vanilla

1. Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. For the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter and toss with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the mixture to a 9½ inch (24-cm) springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom using the flat bottom of a small drinking glass. Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).

4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand-held electric mixer), beat the cream cheese on low-medium speed just until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating at low-medium speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater. Beat just until the mixture is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Add the vanilla and mix just until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until incorporated. Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the mixture will become too aerated; this may cause the cheesecake to puff too much and crack.

5. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 40 minutes or just until the sides of the cake are slightly puffed and the centre is still wobbly. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F(200°C).

7. Prepare the topping by stirring together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Distribute dollops of the sour cream mixture over the warm cake and, using a small off-set metal spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the sour cream in an even layer. Return the cake to the oven for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and release the springform ring. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

8. To cut the cake with clean edges, run a sharp knife under hot water then dry it well. Repeat for each slice.

Serves 10 to 12

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