Summer in the South is a magical experience. Cool, misty mornings succumb to balmy, sun-soaked afternoons and technicolor sunsets. Families laze on the lake or head for the hills to explore shady trails, hiking pole in hand, or discover charming hamlets awaiting unassumingly around every bend of a winding mountain road. Farmers markets come alive with the season’s bounty — juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp Southern okra and, of course, fragrant, succulent peaches.
Each week Chef Kevin Furmanek, Executive Chef of The Cliffs at Mountain Park, invents a mouthwatering new flavor of cheesecake. In celebration of National Cheesecake Day (an unofficial holiday we can certainly get behind!) and this summer’s harvest of delectable peaches, Chef Kevin shared his recipe for his out-of-this-world South Carolina Peach Cobbler Cheesecake.
Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers
3 C all-purpose flour
2 C wheat flour
1 C wheat germ
2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 lb butter
1 C brown sugar
½ C honey
Measure all-purpose flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, sea salt, baking powder, and place all ingredients in a small mixture bowl. Mix with wire whisk until blended together. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer, place whole butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey in mixer bowl with paddle attachment. Mixing on medium-low speed, mix ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Next, slowly add dry ingredients to mixing bowl until combination forms a cookie dough. Form dough into a round dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a rolling pin and pastry board, roll dough out to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut 2×2-inch squares with a kitchen knife and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake graham cracker squares for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
Graham Cracker Crust
4 C crushed Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers
½ C granulated sugar
4 oz melted butter
Place cooled Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers in a food processor and grind until they are crumbs. Place crumbs in a small mixing bowl and add sugar and melted butter. Note: When you squeeze crumb mixture in your hand, it should hold together; then when touched with your finger, the crumbs should fall apart.
Press crumb, sugar and butter mixture in a 10-inch springform pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4 medium-sized fresh peaches
¾ C granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp peach schnapps
Peel and pit peaches. Place peaches, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan on medium heat. Simmer peaches until thick and syrupy.
Mash peaches with a wire whisk until consistency of a chunky jam. Finish with peach schnapps and refrigerate until ready for use.
Peaches and Cream Cheesecake Batter
3 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
2 C granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and de-seeded
6 fresh eggs
¾ C sour cream
1 C chilled peach jam
In a stand mixer, place room temperature cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds in mixing bowl with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until creamy and smooth without any lumps. Increase to medium speed, and add one egg at time, mixing between each egg, until all eggs are incorporated. Next, add peach jam and sour cream. Mix thoroughly. Pour cheesecake batter in graham cracker crust and let rest for 20 minutes before baking. Note: Letting your batter will prevent cracking when baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cheesecake on cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes uncovered. The cheesecake will rise above the springform pan when baking, then fall down when pulled out of the oven. The cheesecake should rest for 20 minutes after baking before being placed in refrigerator. Refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours or overnight before finishing cheesecake with sour cream topping.
Sour Cream Peach Topping
2 C sour cream
¾ C granulated sugar
2 Tbsp peach schnapps
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend together. If your cheesecake is uneven or has cracks, push down cheesecake to create an even layer of cheesecake using a latex gloved hand. Pour sour cream mixture on top of cheesecake and bake for 15 minutes or until sour cream is set to a Jello-like consistency. Refrigerate for least 2 hours or let cool to room temperature before serving.