Katish’s Cheesecake

MY FAVORITE CHEESECAKE… Unlike regular cheesecake, this on is lightened with egg whites… and its sweetness is balanced with the addition of sour cream.  Top this with raspberries, and it is great for a special occasion!

For the crust:

  • 18 pieces of zwieback, crushed fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • a 1-inch length of vanilla bean, minced
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • thin slices of lemon, halved for garnish if desired
  1. Make the crust: In a bowl stir together the zwieback, the butter, and the sugar untilt he mixture is combined well and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan.
  2. Make the filling: In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the sugar and cream cheese until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the flour, a pinch of salt, the vanilla bean, and the egg yolks, beaten lightly, and combine the mixture well.  Stir in the sour cream.  In a bowl beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks and fold them into the cream cheese mixture gently but thoroughly.
  3. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and run a rubber spatula through the filling in a circle about 1 inch from the rim to help the cake rise evenly.  Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350 F oven for 1 hour, turn off the oven, and let the cake stand in the oven for 30 minutes.  (The cake will be puffed but will sink as it cools.)  Let the cake cool completely, or until it is set, in the pan on a rack.  (For a slightly firmer consistency, let the cake cool completely and chill it, covered, overnight.)  Remove the cake from the pan and garnish it with the lemon.

Notes from Mom: Bake in the top of the middle of the oven.  Do not allow to rise too long.

Notes from Leah: Katish was apparently the nickname of Ekaterina Pavlovna Belaev, who arrived in this country alone and virtually penniless, a refugee of the Russian Revolution. But she carried with her a culinary talent, and she used this to make her way in the New World.  This recipe was originally published in Gourmet Magazine in 1945, and is apparently one of the magazine’s most requested recipes of all time. 

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