Food Memories – Jan’s Cheesecake


My father got remarried when I was about 12.  When he introduced my brother and I to his girlfriend, we called her Miss Jan.  Then, after they got married, I just called her Jan.  I think it was the first time that I called an adult by their first name.  Everyone was always Mister or Miss.  To this day, I still fall into that habit.

When I sent out the request for Food Memories, Jan said:

It has to be a cheesecake from me.  I have baked them for years for anyone’s birthday where I worked.  At Stryker, Michael & Bill fought over them.  They didn’t want to share them with anyone. Michael didn’t.  Even jerky Scott loved them.  At Tri-County Gas, Gary drooled over them.  At Garrison Forest School, they fought over them.

I often say that you don’t need a special occasion to make special recipes.  But sometimes, you really do.  Like Jan’s Cheesecake.  Because if you’re going to bust out the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream, you better have a bunch of people helping you to polish off the results.

Like Jan said, I love them………but my hips don’t!

Jan’s Cheesecake

BAH Note: When you  add the melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs and sugar, it will seem dry, like it won’t hold together.  I promise you it will.  If you don’t believe me, I’ll give you Jan’s phone number and you can call her like I did just to make sure.  You’ll want to use your fingers to really combine the butter with the crumbs.  Sometimes it’s nice to get your hands dirty.

Also, when you press the crust into your pan, use whatever method you are most comfortable with.  Some people use the bottom of a glass.  I used the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan.  So what if the bottom of my crust was stamped with Calphalon?  It was a perfect fit and gave me a nice, even crust.

Finally, Jan mentioned not to overmix the batter or else the cake is more likely to crack.  I think I should have mixed the cream cheese and sugar a little better before I added the eggs because there were a number of cream cheese lumps in my final batter.  The top still cracked on me anyway so what’s the difference?


  • 1 cup of Graham crackers crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter- melted


  • 3- 8 ounce packages of Cream Cheese
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 eggs


  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Combine crust ingredients in a medium bowl until moist and press into the bottom of a 9” spring form pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce your oven temperature to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine your softened cream cheese, sugar, juice and zest, mixing until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Pour mixture over crust.  Bake at 300 degrees for 55 minutes.

Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla.  Carefully spread over cheesecake.  Continue baking for 10 minutes.  Take a knife and go around the edge of the cake.  Then let it cool before removing the rim of the pan.

Refrigerate overnight and it is ready to serve!

{Printable Recipe}

9 thoughts on “Food Memories – Jan’s Cheesecake

  1. Seriously, the last one ( which was the first one I ever made) did not live long enough for anyone to notice cracks!

    1. Emily, I become more convinced each and every day that we are our own worst critics. Most of the time, nobody notices the things that I freak out over with my cooking. I need to just let go of all that crazy!

  2. Case in point: A lady at church had surgery last week. there is a website where you can sign up to make a dinner for the family so the person does not have to worry. This, by the way, is a GREAT idea.

    I signed up to make dinner Saturday night. I sent Diane a menu and asked for suggestions if Meatloaf, brown gravy, noodle casserole, salad with homemade French dressing and fresh fruit salad with mint and lemon wwas not acceptable.

    she was thrilled. By the time I got done and ready to transport said meal, I was a wreck and so was the kitchen. Two valium later, the Garmin and I were on the way

    I was so afraid that it wouldn’t be edible I wa s quaking.

    Everybody loved it all that angst for nothing

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