Cheesecake, whether plain or fancy, is a delight at family and company meals

August 18, 1993|By Joe Crea | Joe Crea,Orange County Register

From that first luscious forkful to the final sumptuous bite, few desserts satisfy us more than a fragrant homemade cheesecake.

Here are three to add to your repertoire from the kitchens of Kraft/General Foods.

Hollywood cheesecake deserves its name. If you're seeking a fine, basic cheesecake with potential star-power for your buffet, here it is.

Brownie-bottom cheesecake combines a chewy, brownielike base with a traditional rich cream-cheese topping. It's the best of both worlds for chocolate and cheesecake fans.

Amaretto macaroon cheesecake is a nice treat for your family, but can find an appropriate place on the sideboard at an elegant dinner party.

If you wish to dress up the cake a bit, you might decorate it with a drizzling of melted chocolate or crumbled macaroons -- or even coconut-almond-chocolate candies.

Hollywood cheesecake

Serves 12

CRUST:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

FILLING:

2 8-ounces packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs, separated

TOPPING:

1 cup real sour cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

DECORATIONS:

fresh strawberries, whole or sliced

fresh raspberries, hulled and served whole

raspberry liqueur or strawberry syrup (optional)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and peel, and the vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, use well-washed beaters (no traces of fat) to beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry.

Fold the stiffly beaten egg whites into the cream-cheese mixture; pour over crust. Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set.

Prepare the topping: Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Carefully spread over cheesecake; continue baking 10 minutes.

Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Top with strawberry slices, raspberries and fresh mint before serving, if desired. (If you wish, first drizzle a little raspberry liqueur or strawberry syrup over the top and down the sides of the cake.)

Brownie-bottom cheesecake

Serves 12

BROWNIE BOTTOM:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

4 1-ounce squares unsweetened baking chocolate

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

TOPPING:

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inc springform pan. Set aside.

Prepare the brownie bottom: Melt butter and chocolate in 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat and cool mixture to lukewarm.

Add sugar and eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in milk and vanilla. Stir in combined flour and salt, mixing just until blended.

Spoon into prepared springform pan, spreading evenly. Bake 25 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool slightly while you prepare the cheesecake topping.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the sour cream; pour over brownie bottom (filling will almost come to top of pan). Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until center is almost set.

Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

MA Let cake stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Amaretto macaroon cheesecake

Serves 12

CRUST:

L 1 7-ounce package flaked, sweetened coconut, lightly toasted

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, lightly toasted

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, divided use

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted

FILLING:

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup almond-flavored liqueur

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.

Mix coconut, almonds, 1/2 cup of the sweetened condensed milk, flour and butter; press onto bottom of prepared springform pan. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and remaining 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in liqueur.

Pour filling mixture over the crust. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until center is almost set.

Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

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