Of course, there are so many recipes for Cheesecake, but this is the best — the recipe comes from Cathy Burgett, who taught pastry at Tante Marie’s for many years. The trick to keeping a cheesecake from cracking when it cools is to cover it with a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the sides of an 11 inch springform pan. Do not butter the bottom. Coat the sides of the mold with 1/2 cup of the graham cracker crumbs by turning and shaking the pan.
Combine the 2 cups cracker crumbs with the melted butter, sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Cover the bottom of the springfrom pan and pat down firmly and evenly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with a paddle until soft. Add the sugar, and beat until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly after each addition. Stop beater and scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl several times during the mixing process. Add vanilla and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, no longer.
While the filling is baking, place the sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a bowl and beat well. When the filling is slightly firm, remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Pour the topping around the outer edge of the top of the cheesecake and spread it with a spatula to cover the cheesecake.
Return the cheesecake to the oven, and bake for additional 5 to 8 minutes, until slightly firm but not colored. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight before releasing the side of the springform pan and serving with fresh strawberries or a fresh cherry topping.
In a medium-sized saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and cherry liqueur. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cherries, and bring to a boil. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain the cherries, saving the juice in a small saucepan. Reduce the cherry juice to half a cup. Add the cherries back into the pan, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring for one minute. The mixture should be smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Cool slightly and spoon over the cold cheesecake.