I don't think Blue Ribbon is a very fitting name. Maybe something more like "Crater Cheesecake" or "Bowl of Happiness Cheesecake"...oh, so much better. This recipe does three things special. For one, it uses whipped egg whites to lighten the batter; for another, it doesn't use a water bath, and finally it is baked at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then finished at a lower temperature. The high temperature is what helps the cheesecake get its lovely California tan. It's not elegant but I think its rustic charm makes it more interesting and delicious! Don't you just want to pick off the top nutty brown crust? It's calling your name...dare you to click on the left photo! ;)
The addition of a Tbsp of flour and the separation of the eggs helps the texture stay soft and fluffy, despite the absence of a water bath. Not having a water bath also helps the cheesecake develop its lovely golden brown, shiny, delicious crust. The crater in the middle is kind of an eye sore, however. This is because the beaten egg whites makes it rise too much, and inevitably fall. I supposed we need to fill the crater with something to hide it...cream, anyone??
Recipe for Blue Ribbon Cheesecake, adapted from Apron Strings
I just cut the recipe in half and dumped it into a 7-inch springform but it threatened to overflow, so I baked the rest in a ramekin. I also added the zest of a lemon and maybe a little more lemon juice, and reduced the sugar by a Tbsp. And I used leftover pie crust for the base. Also, since my cake was smaller, the baking times were reduced by 15%.