Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

I first made this Joy of Cooking-inspired recipe when I was in high school and, after trying many versions, I still feel that there is none better. Later, when I was in college and came home from vacations, I used to make this for my brother Peter, who was then a tall, skinny teenager with a frighteningly voracious appetite. Not one to wait for anything, he rarely allowed it to chill and instead, promptly devoured the whole thing. I wanted him to wait for it to be just right, but even so, I was flattered at his inability to do so.

Joy of Cooking authors Rombauer and Becker say this recipe serves 12, Peter says one; I say somewhere around 8.

Serves 6-8.

1¼ cups ground graham crackers or gingersnaps (if you are using small gingersnaps, you will need to start with about 2 cups)
¼ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs
¾ pound cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
6 to 8 strawberries
1 kiwi, cut into 6 or 8 slices
12 to 16 toasted pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. To make the crust: Place the cookie crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a medium-size mixing bowl and stir until they are well incorporated. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

3. To make the cream cheese layer: Place the eggs, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process well. Pour onto the crust.

4. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

5. To make the sour cream layer: Place the sour cream sugar, vanilla, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and mix well. Pour over the cooled cream cheese layer, cover, and refrigerate at least overnight and up to 3 days.

6. To make the raspberry sauce: Place the raspberries in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree. Set aside.

7. When cooled, cut the cheesecake into 6 to 8 pieces. Place a slice of cheesecake on each plate and garnish with a strawberry, a slice of kiwi, and two pecans. Pour a small puddle of raspberry sauce on the side and serve immediately.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)