This is a slight variation of Kraft’s Philadelphia 3-Step Cheesecake Recipe. Their recipe is great but a little sweet and rich for my taste.
So modifications #1, #2, and #3 are that I use less sugar, reduced-fat cream cheese, and a reduced fat crust.
Modification #4 is that I double all of the ingredients and make 2 cheesecakes at a time. It doesn’t take longer, there’s room in the oven, and a single cheesecake goes quickly so why not? 😉
4 packages of 1/3 less fat cream cheese (the 8 oz. rectangular kind)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Pie Crusts
1. Whip together all ingredients (no, not the crusts) until the batter has no lumps (use an electric mixer).
2. Divide batter evenly between the 2 pie crusts.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
You’re done! How simple was that?
Division of Labor
Eat now if you like it hot, otherwise wait till they cool and then refrigerate for a couple hours. It’s better cold, I promise.
If you like it short & sweet, stop reading here and hit the kitchen. After you’ve made a few and want to take it to the next level, come back and read below.
Now I’ve made many, many of these and therefore have really got it down to a science.
While the simple instructions above are fine, the detailed steps below will make things go smoother, and your cheesecakes will taste better.
And in my opinion, it’s even a little faster…
1. About 30 minutes or an hour before you plan to start cooking, remove the 4 cream cheese packages from the fridge & immediately unwrap them…
Cold cream cheese is easier to remove from the foil packaging.
2. … and dump those little white rectangles into a mixing bowl. Leave sitting out on the counter at room temperature.
After 30 minutes at room temperature, they’ll soften & be easier to mix.
3. Now when you’re ready to begin, preheat the oven to 350 deg. F.
4. Next dump the rest of the ingredients into the mixing bowl and whip away (electrically) until you have no major lumps.
5. Take the plastic covers off of the 2 pie crusts and remove both the labels on the plastic covers, as well as the glue that holds the labels. Save the covers!
Peel off the label glue with your fingernails.
6. Use a combination of spatula and pouring to divide the batter between the two crusts. Use the spatula to even out the top so it looks nice ‘n’ purty.
7. Due to step #3, your oven is ready. Pop those babies in and set a timer for about a half an hour from now.
It usually takes ~40 miutes to cook, but it’s smart to begin checking them at 30 minutes as oven temperatures vary.
8. After this time has passed, open the oven and stick a fork into the center of a cheesecake. If it comes out with mostly nothing on the prongs, you’re good to go. If you get sticky goo instead, close the oven door & check again in 7-10 minutes.
Hint: In my oven, when the cheesecakes are about done, they usually split a little on top, kinda like earthquake faults (see below).
Philly Phault Lines
9. When done, take the cakes out & put each on top of a stove eye (turned off) to cool.
10. After 15 minutes of cooling on the stove top, put the plastic lids on. This is very important because the cakes are still hot, so putting the lids on results in condensation inside, which results in a moist cheesecake.
Trust me, I skipped this step once & was extremely disappointed.
You can now speed the remaining cooling off process if you’re feeling brave. Clear a space on a fridge shelf and put down a few layers of hot pads & dish towels for insulation.
You don’t want to crack your cold glass fridge shelves with boiling hot pies! Make sure you insulate good & well and then place the cakes on the hot pads / towels inside. At no time let the hot pies come in contact with cold glass!
After you’ve made a few of these, you’ll naturally want to experiment by putting fruit or preserves on top (after cooking) – or maybe by using an Oreo cookie crust in place of graham cracker. Enjoy!