It is said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, that may be true but women LOVE cheesecake. There isn’t a single girl I’ve ever met that wouldn’t rather spend an evening alone with a pan of cheesecake rather than sharing my company. Well, maybe that says something more about myself than the cheesecake. We may never know.
Luckily for me my girlfriend loves me and cheesecake! We’ve been dating for just shy of 9 months now and knew early on where this was headed. It was just a matter of time until we were to get engaged.
I always joked with her that I bought a ring and hid it in the dirt in my garden along with the seed of a weed. That way she would have to pull every weed that sprouts in the garden all summer to see if there was a ring attached to it. She wasn’t impressed by this plan, so it was back to the drawing board.
Instead I decided to throw a picnic on the river.
I had off for the day, and it looked like the weather was cooperating, so while she was working I grilled up some pesto chicken kebobs, made a cheesecake, stopped at Manderfield’s Bakery for some fresh baked ciabatta bread and then at the Olive Cellar for some nice extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip it in.
I had the picnic all packed up in a bag by the time she got home from work and it took everything in me not to stupidly grin from ear to ear each time I looked at her because I knew what was about to happen and she didn’t.
We drove down to Lutz park and set up our blanket right near the river. What my girlfriend didn’t know was that I had a photographer hiding in the distance behind us poised to snap pictures as soon as the time came.
As we ate our way through the kabobs, bread, oil and vinegar, we came to dessert. I had special ordered an antique silver plated cake server that I had engraved with a short poem I had written. After cutting the cheesecake with the server I handed it to her to lick off, at that point she turned it over and read the inscription:
You and I forever
This I’ll swear it true
For better or for worse
If you’ll say I do
At that point I asked her to stand up, pulled out a ring, got on my knee, and heard the pictures being snapped in the distance. I then slipped the ring onto the rest of my life.
Shameless plug: My fiancée and I are largely paying for the wedding ourselves. If you would like to make a gift donation towards helping us cover the cost of our wedding please follow the Donate link below.
The cheesecake recipe is the creation of my friend Shelli’s. She has quite possibly the best cheesecake out there, so I figured there was no better recipe for my big day than her own. She has been kind enough to share it with anyone who asks.
2 pkgs of graham crackers
1.5 sticks of butter melted
5 Tbs sugar
4 – 8oz pkgs of Cream Cheese
1 1/4 cup of sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt one and a half sticks of salted not unsalted butter.
Break up the 2 packages of graham crackers in the bag (Shelli finds Honey Maid is the best) and then place them in the food processor to grind them further and add the sugar to incorporate.
Pouring the butter into the food processor tends to over process the crust so it is best to place the crumb mixture in a bowl and manually mix in the butter with a fork.
Using an 8″ or 9″ spring form pan, flip it upsidedown so the lip side is facing down. This will allow the cheesecake to slide off easiest. Fill the bottom with a layer of crumbs and press evenly throughout with the back of your hand.
Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on the stove top while making the filling.
While the crust is baking, take the 4 packages of cream cheese and place in a bowl. Fill the bowl with hot tap water and let stand for 10 minutes. This will ensure a smooth filling with no lumps and easy incorporation of the other ingredients.
Cutting each package open with a kitchen shears squeeze the cream cheese into the bowl of your stand mixer and add 1 1/4 cups of sugar. Mix until smooth.
Add two eggs, one at a time and let incorporate, then add the cornstarch. Place mixer on the lowest setting slowly add the heavy whipping cream.
Pour the mixture over each of the crusts and bake for 1 hour.
The cheesecake will still be wobbly when done baking and have an internal temperature of at least 150 so don’t over bake.
Shelli says: This has to be made the day before serving.
Over the years I have made many changes to this recipe. Feel free to add any thing to boost the flavor – fresh fruit, chocolate chips, chpped up Andes Mints. Use your imagination.
Also I will add 1/4 a cup of pecans to the crust to change it up a bit.
Allow the cheesecake to chill in the fridge or freezer over night. I slice into 16 pieces. To ensure clean slices run your knife under hot tap water after every slice.