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Creamy Cheesecake with Graham Cracker-Walnut Crust and Sour Cream Topping

Serves 10 to 12

This is my favorite recipe for a cream cheese-based cheesecake. As I recall, it is a combination of two different cakes I used to make. I love the addition of walnuts to the graham cracker crust. I also prefer a sour cream topping to a fruit compote. If desired, some fresh berries can be arranged on the top before serving to add freshness and color. Preparation is very quick and easy, but it does take some time to bake, cool and chill.

Ingredients

   Graham Cracker-Walnut Crust    Cheesecake Filling    Sour Cream Topping

Combine ground nuts, crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a medium bowl. Press into bottom of a 9 or 10-inch springform pan. Chill until ready to use, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat cream cheese in large bowl of electric mixer just until smooth (can use hand mixer). Add eggs, sugar, lemon and vanilla. Beat just until well blended. Pour into chilled crust. Bake for 50-55 minutes in a 9-inch pan or 40-45 minutes in a 10-inch pan, or until center is set.

Meanwhile, combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla for topping in a medium bowl. Blend well. Cover and refrigerate until cake is done. Remove cake from oven. Let stand for 15 minutes. Spoon topping over cake from center to within 1/2-inch of edges. Return cake to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove cake from oven. Place on rack and cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, or up to 2 days before serving. Run a knife around the outer edge of cake to loosen from pan. Remove ring from pan and slice as desired.

Notes: As with most cheesecakes, this is best made a day or two ahead and refrigerated until serving. However, it is still very good if made in the morning and served that evening.