The Firelands Kitchen

The Firelands Kitchen by Erin Howarth

Cheesecake Recipes For St. Valentine's Day



As some of you may recall, our family does a ‘Meal of Red’ for Valentine’s Day where all the foods serve for dinner are red in color. My wheels got to turning and I think this year we’ll do a raspberry cheesecake for dessert.

Cheesecake. Last week my sister-in-law made what looked like (via social media pictures) a to-die-for cheesecake in her Instant Pot. Have you heard of this latest kitchen appliance? I’ve held off on buying one (Do I really have the space to store this? No.) but my interest is increasingly piqued, especially when I consider I could replace my slow cooker.

From what I understand, depending on the model you get, an Instant Pot can perform as many as nine functions in one appliance. We’re talking all-in-one pressure cooker, egg cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, slow cooker, saute-er (I think I made up this word), steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. That’s a lot of capabilities. Hmmm. This would also open up a whole new world of recipes to share here. Like I said, Hmmmmmm.

Have an enjoyable week everyone!

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

1-1/2 cups cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1-1/4 cups sugar

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 eggs, lightly beaten

9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves


6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Fresh raspberries and whipped cream (optional)

Place a greased 9-inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom of prepared pan. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Set aside 1-1/2 cups; pour remaining batter over crust. In a microwave, melt chocolate; stir in preserves until blended. Stir in reserved batter just until blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls over the plain batter (do not swirl). Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 65-75 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. For topping, place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool slightly. Spread over top of cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with raspberries and whipped cream if desired. Yield: 16 servings.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

3 Tbsp. white sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries

2 Tbsp. white sugar

2 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 cup water

2 cups white chocolate chips

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

Mick’s Oreo Cheesecake

For the crust:

4 Tbsp. butter (not margarine), melted

2 cups Oreo cookies, crushed fine (about 18 cookies)

For the filling:

3 pounds cream cheese

2 3/4 cups granulated sugar

5 eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups Oreo cookies, in chunks (about 15 cookies)

For the garnish (optional):

12 ounces whipped cream

12 Oreo cookies

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 10-by-3-inch springform pan tightly with foil (to prevent water from leaking in). Line the bottom with a parchment circle. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter and Oreo crumbs. Place in pan and press down firmly and evenly. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.

To make the filling: Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until soft (6 to 8 minutes). Use a rubber spatula to scrape bowl often to ensure even distribution. Add sugar and blend well, scraping bowl just until mixture is smooth (no lumps). Reduce mixing speed to low, then slowly add eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined. Remove bowl from mixer. With a wooden spoon, fold in Oreo chunks into batter. Pour batter into pan prepared with crumb crust; place cheesecake pan into large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with water, leaving 1 inch of space from the top of the cheesecake pan. Bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (usually 2 hours and 45 minutes is perfect), until top of cheesecake is slightly golden. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.

To make the garnish (which I usually don’t): If desired, top each slice of cheesecake with 1 ounce of real whipped cream and an Oreo cookie. The secret to its exceptionally moist and creamy texture, is baking it very slowly in a water bath. To ensure that no water leaks in, cover the outside of the pan with foil. You don’t have to let it refrigerate 24 hours before serving but it is better if you do. Serves: 12.

New York Cheesecake

4 (8 oz) containers whipped cream cheese

1 (16 oz) container sour cream

5 large eggs

1 stick sweet butter

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Let cream cheese, sour cream, butter and eggs stand for 1 hour at room temperature.

Blend cream cheese, sour cream and butter together. Add cornstarch, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat or whip speed until very well blended. Beat in one egg at a time until the entire mixture is very smooth. Pour mixture into a greased 10” spring pan in a large roasting pan, half-filled with warm water. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour or until top is golden brown. Turn off oven and let cake cook with oven door open for 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature for 2 more hours. Cover with a circular piece of cardboard and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Pistachio White Chocolate Cheesecake


1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. butter, melted


20 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4cup sugar

1/2cup sour cream

1/4tsp. almond extract

4 eggs

1 (3.4-oz.) pkg. instant pistachio pudding and pie filling mix

1 (12-oz.) pkg. (2 cups) white vanilla chips

1/2cup chopped shelled pistachios

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar; mix well. Stir in butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees. for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Wrap outside of pan, bottom and sides, with heavy-duty foil. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese in large bowl at medium speed until creamy. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar until very soft and creamy. Add sour cream and almond extract; beat well. Reduce speed to low; add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. With wire whisk, beat in pudding mix until well mixed. Stir in vanilla chips. Pour into crust-lined pan. Sprinkle pistachios over top. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until sides of cheesecake are set and slightly puffed but center still moves slightly when pan is tapped. Cool cheesecake in pan on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. To serve, remove sides of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges.

Raspberry Cheesecake

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)

1 Tbsp. sugar

6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry

3 half-pints fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving. To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Note: Measure your springform pan. The bottom may measure 9 inches, but it says 9 1/2. Put the springform pan on a sheet pan before putting it in the oven to catch any leaks.

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