Enjoy the blend of fresh peaches and deliciously creamy smooth New York style cheesecake. The hint of spice takes this delightful dessert from summer fresh peach to spicy fall harvest. (Hint, it's also great in winter and spring)
Yields: 12 servings
3 cups fresh peaches, chopped (about 1 ½-2 lbs)
1 ¾ cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups cookie crumbs*
1/4 cup melted butter
4 packages (8 oz ea) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Dash ground nutmeg
Fresh peach, mint leaves, blueberries, optional garnish
Peel peaches, remove stones and chop; place 3-cups chopped peaches, ½-cup sugar and the lemon juice in saucepan; over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar; bring to a boil. Use a potato masher to crush peaches (do not puree); reduce heat to simmer and cook until thick (approximately 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat, cool; store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine crumbs, 1/4-cup sugar (more or less to taste) and melted butter; mix well. Press crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake crust 8-10 minutes; remove from oven and cool. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
Beat together softened cream cheese and 1-cup sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, sour cream and eggs, one at time.
Spread half the cream cheese mixture over prepared crust. Spoon approximately 1-cup peach in globs over cream cheese; spoon remaining cream cheese batter over peaches; shake gently to settle batter.
Bake cheesecake in a water bath (see notes below): Place spring-form pan on a large sheet of heavy aluminum foil and wrap foil up the sides of the pan (edges of the foil should come to the top of the pan). Place foil wrapped pan in a second larger deep pan (such as a roasting pan). Carefully pour boiling later in larger pan so water level is approximately 1 ½-inches up the sides of the foil pan. Bake cheesecake at 325 degrees for 75-80 minutes or until top is set when pan is jiggled. Turn off oven heat and leave cheesecake in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, remove cheesecake pan from water bath and cool. Refrigerate cheesecake overnight. Cheesecake may be frozen for later use.
Stir rum extract, ground cloves and nutmeg into remaining peaches. Spoon peaches over top of cheesecake; garnish with slices of fresh peaches, and a few fresh blueberries.
Water bath. Cheesecake may be baked without a water bath. Baking cheesecake in a water bath creates moist even heat, which helps prevent large cracks in top.
*Traditionally graham cracker crumbs are used for cheesecake crust. For a nice flavor change replace half the graham cracker crumbs with half ginger snap crumbs. Follow the recipe for measurement and instructions.