In my opinion, cheesecake is one of the most underrated desserts. It isn’t usually in most family’s baking rotation, and I have no idea why! With just a few simple ingredients and a little time, you can enjoy your own traditional cheesecake at home.
This ABC cheesecake recipe is a pretty basic one that can be adapted to fit everyone’s tastes and style. You can add fruit, swirls of chocolate, or any other add-ins that you like. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser no matter what!
- 16 Oz. Graham Crackers or Zwieback- Crushed
- 1/4 Cup (1/2 Stick) Melted Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 2 Packages Cream Cheese (Softened to Room Temperature)
- 4 Eggs, Separated
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
- 2 Cups Sour Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. We’ll begin by making the graham cracker crust. After you’ve crushed up your package of crackers (I like to do it in a large plastic bag with a rolling pin or a glass) to the fine consistency of bread crumbs, drizzle in the melted butter and sugar mixture. Combine well, and check one more time to make sure there aren’t any large pieces left over. These will make your crust crumble apart too easily and won't have a good texture after baking.
Next, take a heavy bottomed pie pan (circular shapes are most classic, but you really could use whatever shape you want) and butter it well. Press the graham cracker mixture into the pan and up the sides if you want. You can coat just the bottom, but make extra sure that the sides are well greased or you'll end up with a mess!
In a large bowl, add your egg whites. Keep the yolks set aside, we’ll use them later. Beat the egg whites lightly, then add the cream cheese and beat together until you’ve reached a fluffy consistency. We’re not aiming for anything meringue-like, so be careful not to overmix. Gradually add in the remaining egg yolks one at a time. Mix one teaspoon of the vanilla in last.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream with the sugar and remaining vanilla. Try to mix until the sugar is as dissolved as possible to ensure the smoothest texture. Set aside.
Carefully pour the mixture into your pan, being cautious not to pour from too high up or you'll disturb the graham cracker crumbs. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove and reheat the oven to 475. Top with the sour cream mixture and bake at 475 for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before placing in the refrigerator, ideally overnight.
What is ABC Cheesecake?
ABC cheesecake is a basic recipe for a traditional style cheesecake. It has a great flavor, and many say it is reminiscent of a Sara Lee cheesecake.
The difference between traditional cheesecake and New York style cheesecake lies in the way the filling is structured. New York cheesecakes are very heavy on the cream cheese and often use heavy whipping cream and other thickeners like corn starch to create a dense, decadent filling. Traditional cheesecakes like this recipe use sour cream to lighten the batter a bit, leaving a silky smooth and lighter filling.
How Long Does Cheesecake Last?
Homemade cheesecake actually lasts a very long time both in the fridge and freezer. The exact answer varies slightly based on what type of ingredients and toppings you’ve added to your cheesecake, but you can safely store it in the fridge for 5-7 days in most cases. It will need to be stored covered well, either by saran wrap or a tight fitting lid. If you don’t cover it, it tends to form an unpleasant skin on the surface of the filling and the crust can get very stale.
In the freezer, homemade cheesecake lasts even longer! You can freeze your yummy creation for anywhere between 6-8 months, so feel free to bake ahead of time! Unlike many other homemade goods, cheesecake actually thaws wonderfully. Since it is meant to be kept refrigerated anyways, thawing is simply a matter of moving from the freezer to the fridge overnight.
If you choose to freeze your cheesecake, it will need to be in a tight container and protected by insulation of some kind to prevent freezer burn. You can freeze in the original springform or pie pan that you baked it in for a perfect fit, or slice and freeze in the container of your choice. Wrap with saran wrap and aluminum foil for the best results.
This ABC cheesecake recipe stands out well on its own, but it also makes a great blank canvas to add toppings, fillings, or flavorings of your choice.
One of the most classic ways to top a cheesecake is with fresh fruit, usually strawberries. These make a beautiful finishing touch and will really elevate the look of the final dish.
To do this, cut fresh strawberries in half lengthwise. Leaving the stem on is optional, some like the look but others find that it gets in the way when it’s time to eat. Arrange the strawberry halves in a circle around the outer edge of the top of the cheesecake. If you’ll be removing it from the pan to serve, you can line them up around to circumference of the cheesecake for an even more impressive look.
A slightly more advanced way to spice up your cheesecake is by incorporating a fruit filling. I’ll use strawberries as an example again, but this works well with other berries such as blackberries or blueberries as well.
Finely chop or puree 1-2 cups of berries, then simmer with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of cornstarch, and a couple optional tablespoons of sugar over low heat until thickened like a jelly. Spoon the jelly into the bottom of the pan on top of the graham cracker crust prior to adding the cheesecake mixture in. Alternatively, you can also swirl the berry mixture into the batter for a nice visual effect.
Finally, there’s everybody’s favorite: chocolate! There are tons of ways to add some chocolatey goodness to your ABC cheesecake. The simplest (and my favorite) way is to use Oreo cookies instead of graham crackers in the crust mixture. The flavor complements the cheesecake super well and gives it a bit of a “cookies and cream” vibe. You can also drizzle chocolate ice cream topping over the final, chilled product or on everyone’s individual slice. Pair this with some grated chocolate shavings and you’ll be everyone’s favorite baker in no time!
How to Make Keto Sour Cream Pie
This recipe is actually fairly keto-friendly as it is. The main non-keto ingredients are the sugar and the graham cracker crust. The crust can be completely eliminated if desired, just be sure to grease the pan very well before pouring the batter in.
The sugar in this recipe can be substituted for an artificial sweetener like Stevia if you want, but it may slightly alter the texture of the final product. Keep in mind that artificial sweeteners are significantly sweeter than sugar ounce-for-ounce, so you’ll probably need to reduce the amount of Stevia compared to how much sugar the recipe calls for.