Mamie Eisenhower’s Cheesecake with a Chocolate Crust

Mamie Eisenhower published a lot of recipes during Ike’s presidency, including Million-Dollar Fudge, her best seller, and this cheesecake recipe.  

At first I wasn’t sure if I like this cheesecake since it was so different from the ones I normally make.  The filling was slightly tangy and refreshingly cool from the lemon juice, which was quite different from the rich and creamy taste I’m used to in my all-time favorite Oreo Cheesecake that my mom makes.  Despite it’s uniqueness, I was extremely impressed! The cheesecake was lush, velvety, moist and smooth and the thick layer of chocolate cookie crumb crust was a perfect complement to the tangy lemon flavored filling.  
Mamie’s cheesecake was outstanding, and I strongly recommend making this dessert, which comes from Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark’s cookbook called “The Perfect Finish:  Special Desserts for Every Occasion.” Enjoy!!

Mamie Eisenhower’s Cheesecake with a Chocolate Crust
1 package (9 oz.) Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 packages full-fat cream cheese (16 oz.) at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream (8.5 oz.)
Freshly grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the Crust:
1.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 275 degrees.  In a bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies to fine crumbs (you should have about 1 1/2 cups).
2.  Add the melted butter, and pulse to combine.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch (we used 9-inch) springform pan with butter and sprinkle the cookie crumbs inside.  Shake the cake pan to distribute them evenly on the bottom, then use a fork to press them down evenly.  Bake for 10 minutes.

For the Cheesecake:
1.  Raise the oven temperature to 300 degrees.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until completely smooth, about 15 minutes.  Stop the  mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a spatula.  Beat in the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated, scraping down the bowl and paddle before adding each egg.
2.  Add the sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice and continue to beat until the mixture is uniformly smooth.  Pour the batter over the cookie crumb crust and place on the center rack.
3.  Bake until the cake is just set, yet still wobbly in the center and will move slightly, in one piece, when the pan is gently shaken, about 60 minutes.
4.  Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool, then refrigerate until completely chilled before serving, about 2 hours.
5.  To serve, run a thin knife or offset spatula around the sides of the pan, then release the sides, letting the cake remain on the pan’s base.  To slice the cake neatly, use a thin-bladed knife, and wipe it with a damp cloth in between cuts.

Makes 1 (10-inch) cake to serve 8 to 10

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