I specified frozen peaches for this cheesecake because the quality in taste and texture is more consistent than I’ve found with some fresh peaches. However, if you have good-quality fresh peaches, by all means use them.
Yield: 14-16 servings
2 ounces unsalted butter
5 ounces graham cracker crumbs
1 ounce sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
7 ounces sugar
6 ounces buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ounces peach schnapps
16 ounces frozen peaches (thawed, drained, and chopped)
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
7 ounces brown sugar
3 ¾ ounces flour
¾ cup oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with butter or pan spray.
2. In a small microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Then, add the butter and mix well. Place the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the pan, making sure to press the crumbs firmly to the edge of the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator to set the crust.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese and mix on medium speed until smooth. Next, add the sugar and mix until well blended and there are no lumps of cream cheese. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, add the buttermilk, vanilla, and peach schnapps. Scrape the bowl again.
4. Add the eggs one at a time to the cream cheese mixture, mixing on low speed, and scraping the bowl after each addition.
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the peaches with a spatula. (This ensures better distribution in the custard and alleviates mashing the peaches.)
6. Pour the custard into the pan and place in the oven. Bake the cheesecake for approximately 50 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed and dried looking with tiny cracks, and the center jiggles only slightly when you gently shake the pan. (Note: I always turn the cheesecake about half way through the baking time to ensure even cooking as many ovens do not distribute heat evenly.)
7. While the cheesecake is baking, prepare the crisp topping by combining the butter, sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt in a medium-size bowl. With your hands, mix the ingredients together until well blended and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
8. Approximately 10-15 minutes before the cheesecake has finished baking, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the oatmeal-crumb mixture on top of the cheesecake. Finish baking the cheesecake and then remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the cheesecake for 6-8 hours or overnight before removing from the pan and serving.
Note: The best way to cut the cheesecake for service is to use a long, thin-bladed knife, dipped in hot water and wiped with a clean towel between each cut. This helps alleviate the cheesecake from sticking to the knife and then transferring the accumulated cheesecake to the next slice, giving you picture-perfect slices every time.