It’s been quiiite the past couple of weeks. Long story short: I have found an apartment after a fair amount of blood (minimal, mostly just blisters), sweat (LOTS thanks to the New York heat wave…..ugh), and tears (a little here and there) and I’m back in San Diego due to an interesting last minute turn of events. Good and bad. Bittersweet. Etc. Anyways, at least I’m reunited with my parents’ roomy kitchen lalalaaaa
So let’s talk cheesecake. My dad really wanted me to make him a cheesecake for his birthday (8/13) but unfortunately, I was in the process of leaving for NY right around then and didn’t have the time/energy while I was scrambling to get ready to make one. If you’ve ever made a cheesecake, you know how picky and labor intensive they can be. Not so much a last minute, bake-this-on-a-whim kind of dessert. Luckily, I came home a few weeks early (weeee) so my dad’s birthday cheesecake was only a mere 10 days late! This cheesecake is loosely based off of this lovely recipe. And what a fabulous one it was.
2 c. raw cashew pieces
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
3 8oz. packages of organic cream cheese at room temperature (!!!)
3/4 c. sugar
2 limes, juiced and zested
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
Preheat the oven to 350° and begin to prepare your crust. Grease an 8″ or 9″ springform pan and set aside. Pulse the cashews, coconut, and brown sugar together in a food processor until you get a medium-fine crumb. Add the melted coconut oil, stir until combined, and press evenly into your springform pan. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or so until the crust is lightly golden brown. Remove while you prepare the filling.
Increase the oven temperature to 400° and move on to preparing the cheesy part of said cheesecake. With an electric mixer (for those of us who don’t have fancy shmancy stand mixers……it’s not like I’m bitter/jealous or anything…..), mix together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s all nice and fluffy. Add your lime juice and zest and mix again. Separate your whites and yolks of your two eggs and drop the yolks into your cream cheese mixture, leaving the whites in a separate bowl for whipping. Mix in the yolks and set this aside while you whip the whites to soft peaks. Once sufficiently whipped, gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the filling with a spatula. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth out the top. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack in the oven and bake at 400° for 10 minutes before you reduce the temperature to 225°, baking like this for at least another hour (or until mostly set but still sliiightly jiggly in the middle). Once done baking, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside with the door closed for at least another hour–this well help it cool gradually so it doesn’t crack. (Because, let’s be honest, what is more devastating than a cheesecake with a cracked top?) After an hour, pull the cheesecake out and place on a cooling rack. Carefully run a knife around the edge and let it cool at room temperature for at least another hour before placing in the refrigerator overnight. Try to resist the temptation to eat it until the next day. Tough, I know, but it’s much better this way, I promise.
Okay so my main (and only) issue with cheesecake is the sheer amount of cream cheese involved. THREE 8 oz. packages. Can you imagine how many bagels you can coat with that?! Actually no. I take that back. I do not want to think about that. But excessive cream cheese amounts aside, cheesecake is the love of my life. I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when I was photographing it. And again when I ate a slice after dinner. Good GOD this cheesecake knows me. I put a lot of love into it! Essentially, it is my baby, and I am so proud of how it turned out. (Has my absurd relationship with food gotten weird enough for you yet???) Well. On that note, I recommend only making a cheesecake if you have lots of time on your hands and plenty of patience. But if that’s the case, make this one! It’s pretty much the perfect, creamy, lovely, ideal cheesecake consistency (in my humble opinion). Not to mention the crust is fabulous.
Alsoooo, just a little shout out to all the people in my life that have been there for me lately: you guys are really wonderful. Like, I cannot even express how wonderful. I might even appreciate you more than I appreciate this cheesecake. (KIDDING teehee I absolutely do!) You, along with baking/cooking/yoga, are my most effective antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. You know who you are 🙂