Isn't it interesting the way holiday traditions always center around the kitchen and food? No matter what the culture or holiday, our memories linger on aromas in the kitchen and the delicious
tastes of the foods we love.
Every year, my mother kept up our Italian tradition of making strufili, little fried dough balls bathed in honey and covered in colorful sprinkles. It was fun to help in the preparation and yummy to dig into the final results. We all knew it wouldn't be Christmas without those delicious little honey balls Mom called strufili.
We grow up with those family traditions and then add in our own. From the time my children were little, New York cheesecake became the holiday tradition around our house. When the kids grew older, they insisted cheesecake always be on the menu as Christmas dinner dessert... and it still is!
What are your family memories of holiday foods? If you have a family food tradition, be sure to keep it going. If you don't, then start one. There's no better time than now!
Here's my traditional New York Cheesecake recipe. You can add your favorite graham cracker crust and fruit on top, if you like, but we love it best just plain. It's quick, easy, fool proof and delicious. Try it. I think you'll like it.
In a large mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese and sugar with a fork until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, creaming each in smoothly with the fork. When well mixed, add sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat on Medium with a mixer until smooth. Then, beat on high speed until a little bubbly (about one minute). Carefully pour into floured spring pan and dust the top of the cheesecake with cinnamon. Place pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drippings.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and let set in the oven without disturbing for one hour. DO NOT OPEN DOOR. Sit at room temperature for 45 minutes and then place in refrigerator. Must be chilled 24 hours before serving.
Photo by Nina Spitzer
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