Monday, October 31, 2011

Evelyn's Cheesecake

The Evelyn of Evelyn's Cheesecake was Evelyn Sharp of New York State. Little did I know until this minute that Evelyn Sharp is a very distinguished name, held by no less than three news makers who lived in various places in various eras.
First came the British Evelyn Sharp, who was a notable feminist and mover and shaker in the suffragette movement in England. Second came Evelyn Sharp of Nebraska, who was one of the first women pilots in Nebraska, and worked in the Army Air Corps during World War II, ferrying lanes from the factories to where the armed forces needed them. She died in a plane crash in 1944.
Third was Evelyn Sharp of New York City, owner of the Stanhope Hotel, the Gotham Hotel, the Saranac Inn in Saranac Lake, N.Y. and the Beverly Wiltshire. Her obituary described her as a philanthropist. She sat on the boards of Planned Parenthood, the Lexington Center for the Deaf and the Associates of the California Institute of Technology. She set up a foundation to benefit the arts. Evelyn Sharp of New York City died in 1997 at the age of 94. Regrettably, her obituary in the New York Times fails to mention cheesecake. So do the obituaries of the others. Votes for women, flying and art, but no cheesecake.
While we really don't know who devised the cheesecake recipe, my money is on Evelyn Sharp, the philanthropist.
This was made and eaten at the preHalloween dinner party. Again, I wasn't here to make it. My husband took over and even tampered with the recipe in best Berkshire Farmer style. While the original recipe calls for three cups of cottage cheese, he substituted a cup of whipped cream cheese for a cup of cottage cheese. He said he was worried about the texture. The end product was excellent. Cheesecake is one of those creations that can and should be made the night before a party, placed in the refrigerator and forgotten about until the strategic hour.

Evelyn's Cheesecake

2 cups zwieback crumbs (zwieback is or was a cracker for teething babies.)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice.
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup light cream
3 cups creamed cottage cheese
(or two cups cottage cheese and 1 cup whipped cream cheese)
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
l/4th of a cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. To prepare crust, combine all ingredients. Reserve3/4 cup of the crumb mixture. With a spoon, press the remaining mixture into bottom and sides of an eight-inch springform pan.
3. To prepare filling, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on low speed until light. Add the sugar gradually, then add the lemon juice, salt, cream, cottage cheese, flour and lemon rind. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle top with reserved crumb mixture and the walnuts.
4. Bake one hour. Turn off oven heat, leave the door ajar and let cake cool in the oven one hour. Chill on rack in the refrigerator. Remove sides of pan before serving cake. Makes 10 to one dozen servings.

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