I'm sharing this one because it's an old family favorite, not because it has any redeeming health benefits. If wanton use of sugar and dairy products offends you, look away now.
My great-grandma was a tough old lady. She raised her own children, and after her daughter-in-law (my grandmother) died at a young age, she raised the 4 grandchildren who were still at home while my grandfather worked as a firefighter.
There are a few things I remember about her, and one is that she always had either lime or grape Kool-Aid in the refrigerator. Another is the recipe for pineapple cheesecake that was written in her handwriting. I don't imagine she invented it. More than likely she copied it out of a cookbook or newspaper clipping from a neighbor. But in any case, it is “Gram's” to me.
This cheesecake is definitely NOT New-York style. It's more like summer picnic potluck style. Also, some weird people (everyone else at my house except me) don't like it with pineapple on top. I personally will not eat pineapple any other way. So feel free to make it without the pineapple, or to substitute something else.
This recipe is made in 3 stages. They aren't complicated, just separate.
2 2/3 C graham cracker crumbs
¾ C sugar
1 stick butter, melted
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
1 C sugar
1 C milk
1 ½ C sour cream
¾ C sugar
small can crushed pineapple, drained
the reserved ¾ C of crust
Preheat the oven to 350.
Crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl. Reserve ¾ cup of the mixture for the topping. Dump the rest into a 9x13 baking pan (I have always used a glass pan for this, not sure it matters) and press into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides all the way around.
I find it helps to use a half-cup measuring cup to help press the crumbs onto the sides and into the corners. Set aside.
Bottom Layer: In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and 1 of the eggs with a hand mixer until smooth. Then add the second egg and mix until smooth. Then add a little of the milk at a time, mixing until smooth between additions until all of the milk is incorporated. Pour into the crust gently, so as not to disturb the edges.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the temperature up to 425.
Top Layer: In a medium bowl mix the sour cream and sugar together. Gently pour over the first layer, being careful not to disturb it or touch the hot pan.
With a fork, scatter the crushed, drained pineapple across the surface of the cheesecake.
Then, sprinkle the remaining graham cracker mixture across the top.
Bake at 425 for 5 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then refrigerate until ready to serve.
When you are mixing up the bottom layer of filling, don't be tempted to throw all of the ingredients in at once. You'll wind up with something that resembles cottage cheese. If you didn't pay attention and threw it all in together, dump the whole mess into a blender and give it a whirl til it's smooth.
In a former life, I would have totally eaten this stuff for breakfast.
If you just want some delicious pineapple flavor without all of the sugar and dairy, try Pina' Colada Black Tea.