Creamy Classic Cheesecake
22 graham cracker squares (11 whole crackers)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
5 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened*
1-1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Crush the crackers into crumbs using a food processor or by hand. Add the melted butter and sugar; blend well. Press onto the base of a 9-inch springform pan; chill.
2. In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Blend in the sugar. Add flour and beat until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on low speed just until blended, scraping sides of bowl often. Add the sour cream, lemon peel and vanilla; beat just until blended. Pour mixture over chilled crust in the pan.
3. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.** Turn off oven and keep the door ajar; let cheesecake sit in oven for 1 hour. Place pan on a wire rack to cool. Run a sharp knife around sides; cover and chill for 6 hours or overnight.
4. When ready to serve, remove pan sides. Slide cheesecake onto a serving plate. Overlap strawberries in circles on top of cheesecake and fill the center with raspberries. Makes 16 servings.
*Soften cream cheese at room temperature for 2 hours or unwrap and microwave each package for 15 seconds.
**Do not over-bake. The cheesecake will firm up as it cools.