This is so incredibly delicious we all agreed that there is no reason whatsoever to use refined sugar as the original recipe calls for (from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, p. 248-249). It was gone way too fast, but it was heaven while it lasted... Someday I'll have to try it with just honey, like my mom has done, and see if we like it as well as this version.
1 1/2 c. finely crushed graham crackers
1/2 Tb. honey
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, melted
3 8-ounces packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. raw sugar
2 Tb. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. milk
3 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel (optional)
1 recipe Strawberry Sauce (optional), see bottom of page
For crust, in a bowl combine graham crackers (I crushed in blender), the 1/2 Tb. honey, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan (Or you can use a round cake pan, if you're like me and don't have a cheesecake pan. I have also used two pie plates as another alternative.) Set aside.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, the 1/4 c. honey and 1/2 c. raw sugar, flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in milk until smooth. Stir in eggs and, if desired, lemon peel.
Pour filling into crust-lined pan. (There was a little too much to fit in this one pan, so I poured the rest in two small ceramic bowls.) Place pan in shallow baking pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven 40-45 min for an 8-inch pan, about 35 min for a 9-inch pan, or until a 2 1/2-inch area around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 min. Using a sharp small knife, loosen the crust from sides of pan; cool for 30 minutes more. Remove the sides of the pan (if using a cheesecake pan); cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving. If desired, serve with Strawberry Sauce.
Yield: 2 cups
3 c. fresh strawberries or one 16-ounce package frozen unsweetened whole strawberries, thawed
1/4 c. raw sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
Thaw berries, if frozen. Do not drain. Place berries in blender or food processor bowl. Cover and blend until berries are smooth. (You should have about 1 1/4 c. puree.)
In a small saucepan combine raw sugar and cornstarch. Add blended berries. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 min more. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve over cheesecake.