Alpha House cheesecake

In Ithaca, drug addicts were frequently remanded to a place called Alpha House where they were supposed to be rehabilitated. The addicts were supposed to support themselves during the process, and learn to work a steady job, by baking lots of cheesecakes. Alpha House cheesecake was ubiquitous all over town, and it was excellent cheesecake.

It later turned out that this regimen did more to line the pockets of the owners than it did to rehabilitate the addicts, and that the owners were abusing the residents. Alpha House closed down. But it was still an excellent New York style cheesecake. This is my version.

Try serving this with strawberry sauce or rhubarb sauce. If you want.

How to make cheesecake:

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a piepan, melt 1/3 cup of butter in the microwave. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs. Mix this together with your fingers, and spread it out so that the crust covers the bottom and sides of the piepan.

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix three 8 ounce packages of Philadelphia cream cheese, 1 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and four eggs. This is too hard to mix by hand; use an electric mixer if possible. If you like cheesecake a little lemony, add 2 teaspoons of grated lemon peel.

Pour the filling into the crust. Use a rubber spatula to get the last of it. Bake for 55 minutes, or until the pie is set all the way to the middle and the top browns and cracks. Let cook at least ten minutes before serving, or refrigerate until it is cold and serve cold.

Vegetarian or vegan

Just naturally vegetarian! Enjoy! If you want a good vegan cake, use this recipe instead.

Can I keep this cheesecake for later?

Sure. This cake will be good for a week after you make it. If it lasts that long.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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