Afternoon Open Thread

I made the best cherry cheesecake in the history of the world this weekend:


Yeah, I know: bold claim. But it really was (past tense as it, sadly, only survives in memory now). It was moist. It was firm. It was sweet. But not overly sweet. Here it is approximately 15 seconds after I announced it was ready:


I’ve made cheesecakes before, using a variety of recipes. But this one was the best, hands-down. How good? My husband’s elderly family members were saying, “FUCK Babka Kryzyjkwrjskylski’s cheesecake! Her formerly legendary cheesecakes were rotten sheep’s milk in a desiccated goat’s bladder compared to heavenly confection served to us today by Betty Cracker! We’re not worthy!”

Well, they didn’t use those exact words, but you could say it was a triumph. I can’t take any of the credit for it except for execution since I followed this recipe at Smitten Kitchen exactly, except for a slight deviation with the graham cracker crust, which probably accounts for mine not holding together perfectly (well, that and the fact that numerous people were hacking at it with any available utensil — I just stepped back to preserve my limbs and digits).

Still, it was fucking awesome, and I’m so glad we had company to utterly devour it so it wouldn’t linger in the fridge to tempt me. Now that I know how easy it is to make a fresh fruit topping, I will never again open a can of Comstock for any reason, ever. Feh!

PS: I know someone will come along and claim they have a better cheesecake recipe or know where superior cheesecake can be purchased. If this is you, kindly forward a slice (overnight express in a cooler with dry ice to preserve freshness), and I’ll let you know my unbiased opinion.

68 replies
  1. 1
    Redshirt says:

    Looks healthy! Cherries are good for you, right? And Graham crackers reduce sexual urges.

  2. 2
    Amir Khalid says:

    You don’t ship to Malaysia by any chance, do you?

  3. 3
    gbear says:

    If I had a cheesecake like that at home, mine would look like that after 15 seconds too – without the benefit of guests. Good work!

  4. 4
    Mattski says:

    I just discovered the smittenkitchen 3 weeks ago. Best Yellow Cake Recipe evah…. Best Waffle recipe evah….. and now what appears to be best cheesecake evah….

  5. 5
    Violet says:

    Ohh…yum! Cherry cheesecake is one of my favorite things ever.

  6. 6
    El Tiburon says:

    Just posted on Salon’s Facebook page:

    Glenn Greenwald will go down in history as one of his generations’ greatest journalists. For those of you just getting to know the man who helped expose the massive NSA spying scandal, here’s an overview of his long history of muckraking…

    So now all you GG haters SUCK ON THIS!!1!

    Glenzilla drinks your milkshakes and scoops your Lamestream Media.

    HAHA it’s hard being right all the time.

  7. 7
    boss bitch says:

    @El Tiburon: Oh my. Isn’t that special?

  8. 8
    Amir Khalid says:

    @El Tiburon:
    Sounds like Glenn posted that one himself.

  9. 9
    PurpleGirl says:

    It looks grand and yummy.

    I only want to reminisce about a long gone shop — Le Cheesecake Elegant. It had great cheesecake and, IIRC, only cheesecake. It was just off Madison Avenue on 72nd St.

  10. 10
    👽 Martin says:

    I made the best cherry cheesecake in the history of the world

    You’re evil. It’s 11AM. I’m stuck at work, haven’t had lunch, and you taunt us with something like that. Dick Cheney was kinder.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    @El Tiburon: GG was on the Today Show this morning. I only heard it, not saw it, but I did take a bit of pleasure in him telling Savannah Guthrie how to do her job. Guests rarely push back on the media stars like that. Found it surprisingly satisfying to hear someone do it. Wish I’d seen her reaction.

  12. 12
    scuffletuffle says:

    Gawd, there is a puddle of drool under my desk chair now.

  13. 13
    HinTN says:

    Another good use of cherries: cook down just a bit with sugar and pour over chocolate cheesecake.

  14. 14
    chopper says:

    @El Tiburon:

    this post needs more glitter and rhinestones and crudely-drawn hearts.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Please. Can’t we have one no-NSA thread? Enough already.

    ETA: I mean — FUCK! I am sick of Glenn Greenwald and NSA stuff.

    Isn’t there anything else going on in the world? Really?

  16. 16
    elmo says:

    My sainted mother made cheesecake in a spring-form pan, using ten (10) packages of cream cheese. It rose up to approx twice the height of the pan, and then slowly over the course of several hours condensed back down to the pan’s height, so that when it was done, it had the density and approximate gravity of the planet Mercury. I swear it had little cheesecakes captured in its orbit. I have never eaten anything even half so rich.

  17. 17
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    I believe that dry ice will actually freeze your slice, leaving you with a frozen wedge of icy cheese and cherries that will defrost unevenly, giving your mouth the alternating sensations of cool mush followed by freeze headaches, such bad that you’ll toss yer plate and fork at your husband, precipitating a restraining order and then a divorce. And nobody wants that.

  18. 18
    Elizabelle says:

    Delicious looking cheesecake.

    Am thinking a smidge of almond extract would work well in the cherry topping.

    Betty: thank you for an open thread.

    I’m sad that NSA fever has consumed Balloon Juice.

    I was even over at Andrew Sullivan’s a bit earlier — Andrew Sullivan’s!! — because I’d had it.

    At least you might see a beagle picture there. (PS: The Dish takes too long to load. Fled after a few posts.)

  19. 19
    Big R says:

    I will mail a slice of my recipe when I get my slice of this.

  20. 20
    Napoleon says:


    Why run the graham cracker base up the side of the cake? It is pretty obvious from the picture that you used one of those spring opening type pans when you could simply remove the side and leave the bottom.

    I have made my mom’s (bless her soul) Manhattan Cheesecake a few dozen times (and her a hundred times) and I have never seen an issue with the sides sticking, and it looks better that way.

  21. 21
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    That’s my favorite dessert and yours looks magnificent! We should be pals, hang out and have you make me cherry cheesecake.

  22. 22
    Mike E says:


    The fitness establishment that shit-canned my daughter for calling in sick (threw up, only shift she ever missed there in the year she worked for them) doesn’t want her to stop in and fill out paperwork after all. She’s gonna file for unemployment, and try to get a rec from her daycare mgr there and hopefully some other establishment needs her kids skills for this summer.

    Better news: she’s graduating hs tomorrow!

  23. 23
    rikyrah says:


    My hands are shaking just thinking about cutting into that cheesecake

    damn…it looked FABULOUS

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    Well, George Zimmerman’s murder trial begins today. It’s interesting to see it being called “the Trayvon Martin trial”.

  25. 25
    maurinsky says:

    I like to have a lot of graham cracker crust – enough to go with every bite, so I also run the crust up the sides.

    I made a strawberry rhubarb pie yesterday, but it came out of the oven pretty late and the children in the house are afraid of rhubarb, so no one has hacked into it yet, which should be remedied approximately 5 minutes after I get home today. Coincidentally, I used Smitten Kitchen’s strawberry rhubarb pie recipe.

  26. 26
    Cassidy says:

    Sadly, my cheesecakes are always store bought and never taste as good as they look like they should.

  27. 27
    Todd says:

    It is quite healthy, and an essential part of a balanced meal. Vegetation is the backbone of it – the sugar from cane, cherries as fruit, eggs processed from table scraps the chickens ate, dairy products as processed by cows and time…

    Healthful, I say, healthful! And renewable!

  28. 28
    Paul in KY says:

    Thyat is one badass looking cheese cake.

    I do think you have a legit claim, from the pictures presented,

    Will have to check the kerning though (standard procedure, could be a Kenyan cheese cake).

  29. 29
    Elizabelle says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I’ve not followed the Trayvon Martin stuff much because it breaks my heart. Trayvon has the same beautiful smile my nephew does. Mourning still that he did not get to grow older, and for no good reason whatsoever.

    I don’t want to see a young man dead before his time slimed, or be fodder for TV ratings. Trial of the month club.

    HOWEVER: any light the trial might shed on Florida’s absurd (and abused) stand your ground laws will be welcome.

  30. 30
    👽 Martin says:

    @Paul in KY: I think a full countertop inspection is needed.

  31. 31
    hildebrand says:

    I am in Florence (teaching a study abroad class on the History of Italy), my apartment is on the second floor (European second floor), and on the ground level is a vegan restaurant that caters to the hipster vegan (and loud American drunk righteous college) crowd – we share the interior courtyard. Because I am a sensitive type, I pan-fried (my apartment has neither a balcony for grilling nor an oven) a veal steak in olive oil, with plenty of garlic and shallots. I even trimmed the fat to make cracklins. I cooked the steak medium-rare, and made sure that the floor to ceiling window in the kitchen/living room (it is a very small apartment) was wide open. I almost feel guilty. Almost. I am certain that PETA is sending heroic-chic models to storm my apartment even as we speak.

  32. 32
    Todd says:


    Sadly, my cheesecakes are always store bought and never taste as good as they look like they should

    They’re not really that hard to make. Springform pan, sugar, eggs, graham crackers, cream cheese, butter, and you’re good to go.

  33. 33
    Elizabelle says:

    I knew I liked Costco’s principles.

    Costco does not hire business school graduates—thanks to another idiosyncrasy meant to preserve its distinct company culture. It cultivates employees who work the floor in its warehouses and sponsors them through graduate school.

    Costco’s not anti-labor union either.

    Bloomberg Businessweek has a good article up on the anti-WalMart.

  34. 34
    Maude says:

    If you are going to make cheesecake, that’s the way to do it. That looks thrilling.

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:


    Food and travel porn.

    This thread is headed in the right direction.

    Enjoy Florence.

  36. 36
    Todd says:


    Why run the graham cracker base up the side of the cake? It is pretty obvious from the picture that you used one of those spring opening type pans when you could simply remove the side and leave the bottom.

    Buttery graham cracker crust makes something great even more perfect.

  37. 37
    raven says:

    Mac Pro, a desktop that is Apple’s fastest computer. In a teaser video, the new Pro looked like a shiny cylinder

  38. 38
    thalarctos says:

    I was going to say that your cheesecake could not possibly be better than my family’s recipe–but then I clicked through to the recipe to discover that your recipe is exactly the same as mine!

    (In my household we call it “Cheesecake of Death”)


  39. 39
    raven says:

    @Elizabelle: Shouldn’t that be anti-Sam’s?

  40. 40
    Paul in KY says:

    @👽 Martin: On the ball as always, Martin.

    Bet they are Italian dolomite.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:


    The thing that drives me nuts about Costco is that you can’t always rely on things to be there. I went there over the weekend to buy a specific feminine hygiene product and they don’t have it right now. Maybe later, but who knows. Gah!

    It’s sort of like Trader Joe’s, where if they run out of something, they remove the shelf tag, fill in the empty space, and pretend it never existed. It’s weird to be gaslighted by a retailer.

  42. 42
    Butch says:

    Well, since this thread involves food….I know it sounds odd but last summer I found a recipe for fried asparagus in a sesame sauce. We loved it…and do you think I can remember where I found the recipe?

  43. 43
    👽 Martin says:

    @raven: Yeah, Apple tends to fuck things up when it gets really creative with geometry. But Made in USA as predicted.

  44. 44
    gelfling545 says:

    Well, not a better cheesecake, per se, it’s just that I never use graham cracker crusts. I probably od’d on graham crackers in kindergarten or something & just don’t like them. I use ground almonds, flour, sugar & butter. No complaints so far but certainly no glad hosannas such as you received.

  45. 45
    👽 Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s why they sell everything by the gross. Or the 55 gallon drum. You’re supposed to keep a hot spare.

  46. 46
    El Tiburon says:

    Please. Can’t we have one no-NSA thread?
    Mine was not an NSA comment. It was a troll comment to get all the GG-haters all riled up. Wake up and smell the Greenwald!

  47. 47
    Elizabelle says:

    @El Tiburon:

    GG; DR.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Mine was not an NSA comment.

    Then why did you reference the NSA in it?

    I would rather discuss feminine hygiene products, but I guess Greenwald is found in the douchebag aisle, so he fits the discussion.

  49. 49
    Svensker says:


    I thought it was illegal to be vegan in Italy.

  50. 50
    Birthmarker says:

    My Costco has a kiosk in the front where you can whine about missing items (by filling out a form.). There will also be a notebook there where they place the answers to the requests. I learned that if things don’t meet a sales target they are gone. Some items are treated seasonally. I won’t even start on my great battle to get Smart Meat back in the stores. (I failed.)

  51. 51
    EconWatcher says:

    I’ve been dieting for four weeks. I’ve dropped almost twenty pounds, but I’m hungry all the time. Damn you for posting that picture!

  52. 52
    Cassidy says:

    @EconWatcher: Carrots. Lots of ’em..

  53. 53
    hildebrand says:

    @Svensker: Especially in Florence. Between the Florentine steak, the porchetta, and the lampredotto, it definitely has the feel of a place slightly averse to veganism. Then again, the ribolitta that I made for tomorrow is sans meat, so there you go.

  54. 54
    Arclite says:

    Looks suitable to serve at the Red Wedding.

  55. 55
    cckids says:

    I make a brown sugar cheesecake with brandied peaches that is pretty f*ing awesome (to quote the guests who were last served it), but yours looks divine as well. I believe I will have to try both, side-by-side.

    Cheesecake Wars!!!! Let the calories commence.

  56. 56
    J. says:

    OMG that cheesecake looks and sounds soooo good. Shit, I just drooled all over my keyboard.

    (Help, I’m a prisoner of a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free teenage tyrant!)

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:


    Weird as it sounds, try soup and hot drinks. I discovered that salads make me hungrier, but a bowl of vegetable soup with the same stuff in it makes me feel full.

    Also, make sure you’re getting enough lean protein — it really makes a huge difference in keeping your blood sugar level and signaling your stomach that it’s full.

  58. 58
  59. 59
  60. 60

    @jeffreyw: Poor kitteh! Keeping my kittehs from their food is dangerous for my health, they don’t take no for an answer. How is your kittehs?

  61. 61
    jeffreyw says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: They are all just fine. Homer is learning to walk the rafters in the garage.

  62. 62
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    If anyone needs a vegan cheesecake recipe, this one is a favorite of mine – uses silken tofu and cashews. YUM.


  63. 63
    ruemara says:

    I made a frozen yogurt trifle for the h’ex’s Birfday. Avocado LIme on top, Chocolate on the bottom with a separative layer of nut brickle in between. It was delish, but since my only camera is now non-functioning, no food porn available. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do with this shredded salt cod and jalapenos. I’m thinking of transforming the codfish fritter into a biscuit.

  64. 64
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Thank you Smitten Kitchen for keeping Gourment Magazine alive. I miss it as well — so much better than Bon Appetit.

    This has been my go to receipe for Cheesecake for years, except that I don’t make a cooked fruit topping. I generally use fresh fruit — Fourth of July gets a star shape of blueberries with strawberries filling in the outside spaces.

    Some suggestions — for some fruits, like blueberries or cherries, the chocolate wafers are better than the graham crackers.

    If using graham crackers, add some almonds.

    For killer key lime pie, you MUST have almonds ground with the graham crackers, then bake the crust 1/2 way, then add MINI chocolate chips spread over the bottom until they melt.

  65. 65
    TheronWare says:

    Damn, that cheesecake looks so good I might run into a burning building for a slice!

  66. 66
    mclaren says:

    Hey, thanks! That sounds fantastic. Cheesecake is one of the recipes I need to work on…

  67. 67
    Elie says:


    YAY!!! Best Best cheesecake experience EVAH! The BLACK HOLE of Cheesecake experience!!! So dense with pleasure, you cannot escape and your ass pulls all that mass into itself, resulting in a SUPERNOVA of intense joy!!!!! They find your body collapsed into a micromillimeter of smile!

  68. 68
    hamletta says:

    @Mattski: Isn’t Deb the best? I’ve been following her for years, ever since Ezra Klein begged for someone to make him a batch of her chili brownies. Everything I’ve ever made from that site has been deelish. I’m making her spinach and cheese strata for a church potluck this Sunday.

    Be sure to look for the link in each entry to a pic of her son. He’s the cutest little boy!

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