Glenn’s Cheesecake

Recipes, Sweet Treats

As if I needed an excuse to make cheesecake, my mother sent me an email this past weekend asking if she could write a guest post on In Good Taste. Since the recipe she wanted to share is so-good-it-should-be-illegal good, I obliged (among other reasons). I did a little baking yesterday and snapped some photos to accompany her post.

By Daryl Callahan

I have asked Maris if I could contribute a guest post here so that I could honor my brother Glenn. Glenn was my brother and best friend, a kind sensitive boy with a heart of gold.


Yes, but that’s because he always knew he was right…and looking back he probably was!

He aspired to be a comedy writer and director and he would have been very successful but he died on October 1, 1974 at the age of 20, from an inoperable brain tumor.

When we were kids, sometime in the late 50’s, we pretended to get married. We even pretended my doll – whom we named Beth – was our daughter. As we grew up, every year on January 4 – through college – we sent each other anniversary cards.

His kind spirit was not just reserved for the family.

In high school he organized and ran carnivals and charity events for American Heart Association and American Cancer Society.

When he was no more then 8 years old he took his little red wagon and went door to door collecting clothes for the people of then earthquake-ravaged Chile.

Toward the end of his illness he asked me to take him to the bank where he withdrew his savings, stating “I won’t be needing it” and proceeded to direct us from store to store so he could buy presents for his family and friends. I could go on and on about his kind, selfless personality, but instead, I’ll share his absolute all time favorite cheesecake recipe.

We call it, of course, Glenn’s Cheesecake.

The recipe uses Zweiback Toast, which is difficult to find in stores. If you can’t find Zwieback, you could supplement your favorite biscuit or graham crackers [Maris uses vanilla wafers, as indicated below and that works well].

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family always has.

To personalize the recipe for you and yours, you can serve it topped with your favorite canned or fresh fruit compote (Maris note: this also works well if, say, your cheesecake comes out of the oven with a massive crack down the center and you want to disguise it).

Glenn's Cheesecake
Recipe type: Sweet Treats
Serves: 8-10 servings

  • For the Crust:
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 10 Zweiback biscuits, crushed* (Use a food processor to crush the cookies into crumbs. If you don't have one, you can crush the cookies in a ziplock bag).
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • For the Filling:
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) cream cheese
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • [i]*Note from Maris: If you can't find Zwieback, use ½ a box of vanilla wafers - about 25 1-inch cookies.
  1. Grease a 7- or 8- inch spring form pan with one tablespoon of butter. Mix together remaining butter, biscuits [or wafers] and sugar. Press mixture on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Pre heat oven to 300 * F. Place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.
  2. Beat cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and salt until very smooth. Add egg yolks and eggs one at a time until smooth. Then add sweet cream and lemon juice and vanilla. Pour cheese mixture into prepared spring form. Place over the rack with pan of water. Bake for one hour and then turn off oven. Allow cake to cool in oven for at least 2 hours more Remove cake to rack but do not remove from pan until cool
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  • Reply
    September 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Very touching – he is lucky to have such a wonderful family!

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    Cooking for Two: Mixed Berry Crisp
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  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    What a fantastic way to honor Glenn. Even 37 years later I want to offer my condolences. It sounds like the world is missing an absolutely wonderful person.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    this cake looks picture perfect!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 7:21 am

    What a beautiful post. Glenn sounds like an amazing person – now an amazing angel. God Bless you! Thanks for his yummy cheesecake recipe!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Mrs. Callahan- What great memories of your brother. Thank you for sharing, although I have to admitt I got a bit teary. I sampled this cheesecake and it’s delicious!!

  • Reply
    Lemon Cake Pops Recipe + Babycakes Cake Pop Maker Giveaway
    June 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

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  • Reply
    Alana D
    June 27, 2011 at 10:33 am

    This is an awesome story and a great looking cake.

  • Reply
    The Harried Cook
    June 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    What a beautiful & moving post. I just love what your mom has shared. This cheesecake sounds like a wonderful tribute… Thank you for sharing Glenn’s story and this recipe that is obviously special to you & your family! I would LOVE a slice of that cheesecake right now (minus the bandaid, of course! 🙂 Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to Glenn. I love your Mom’s guest post, how awesome of her to do this and share this wonderful recipe and story. I was crying while I was reading it and then laughed at the end when I read about the bandaid.

  • Reply
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets
    June 23, 2011 at 6:43 am

    I love cheesecake and yours looks so so delicious!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2011 at 2:30 am

    beautiful post, mrs. callahan – thanks for sharing something that’s so close to your heart with us and i’m glad that this delicious cheesecake brings back all these lovely memories 🙂

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    What a great story – and a delicious looking cheesecake!

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    June 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Mrs. Callahan! Thank you for sharing a wonderful story about your brother and delicious cheesecake! What a nice way to remember him. Great team work as mom and daughter. Beautiful post Maris!!!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Hello mom!! I loved this post, a tasty way to remember beloved Glenn. thank you for sharing


  • Reply
    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos
    June 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    wow, what a beautiful way to remember someone. thanks for sharing :).

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    What a sweet and sensitive post. The cheesecake looks like perfection and I am so glad you shared the recipe and your Brother’s story. It must be so difficult to lose such a beloved sibling at such an early age. Your last few sentences made me smile at the end though…and reminded of my first time I used pie weights and accidentally baked them IN to the crust. My father-in-law almost broke a tooth on one. I will never live that down.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Glenn sounded like quite an amazing guy. What a blessing that you had him in your life those 20 years. This recipe sounds wonderful and is a great tribute! Adding this to my recipes to try 🙂

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I am sorry to hear about Glen’s passing at such an early age but this is such a great way to honor him. He sounds like a fantastic guy! And this cheesecake looks finger lickin good 🙂

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    what a touching tribute!! cheesecake is one of my favorites as well 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle @ A Voracious Appetite
    June 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    What a wonderful recipe and tribute to your brother! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Ellisha Caplan
    June 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Darryl, Glenn sounds like a wonderful brother! Thank you for the touching story and the delicious sounding recipe!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    A very touching tribute for a wonderful sounding person. What a lovely way to honor his memory.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I cried too.

    They do still make Zweiback crackers, but they are not imported like they used to be…I have family members bring them back from Europe when they travel abroad.

  • Reply
    Samantha @ Bikini Birthday
    June 22, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Wow, that is a really touching story about your uncle. Thanks for sharing his favourite recipe with us. I think it makes it all the more meaningful 🙂

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

    What a sweet tribute, he sounds like a very special person. This recipe looks incredible, and of course even better because it brings back such great memories!

  • Reply
    Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen
    June 22, 2011 at 10:42 am

    This looks so delicious! Beautiful post 🙂

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 10:02 am

    What a wonderful story. Glenn sounds like he was amazing. What a wonderful way to remember him through a recipe.

  • Reply
    Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    June 22, 2011 at 9:41 am

    A beautiful tribute and a beautiful cake! This is such a lovely post Maris :).

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

    What lovely memories you chosen to celebrate your friend’s life. His favorite cake sounds delicious and I’ll be sure to try it. I hope you havea great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    June 22, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I love it! Love it! This post is awesome. That cheesecake beats any I have ever seen or even made. this is going to be made THIS weekend. Inspirational and Irresistible!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

    A wonderful story and a super recipe (sans bandaid, of course).

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Daryl, this is a touching beautiful post. Cheesecakes are my favorite and I am definitely going to try this but most importantly carry on it’s name, Glenn’s Cheesecake, and the story behind it every time I bake and serve it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 7:34 am

    What a beautiful and moving tribute to an incredible man! Thank you for sharing this with us. The cheesecake looks amazing. I have never tried to make one before; but you have inspired me to give it a shot.

  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    June 22, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I cried in my oatmeal when I read about how he withdrew his savings to buy presents for family and friends. What a wonderful man. Very worthy of a cheesecake!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I hope all these wonderful commenters are able to see my reply. . I am so very touched by all your kind words. I feel very blessed that Maris is surrounded by such an extraordinary and supportive group of people. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Glenn sounds like he was an amazing person and that his spirit lives on in you, Daryl, and in Maris who is awesome in so many ways! I’m sure he is smiling down on this cheesecake and I am smiling because now I have this delicious recipe in my arsenal!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Hi Daryl, lovely to meet you through your words and cheesecake. Not only did you have a fantastic brother but your daughter is one of the kindest people on the net. She’s treated me like an old friend since day one and I’ll never forget that. So putting all that together, I bet you’re a pretty special person yourself!

    I can’t wait to try this cake. I love cheesecake.

  • Reply
    lisa @ smart food and fit
    June 22, 2011 at 5:17 am

    What a wonderful guest post! I couldn’t hold back my tears reading about your brother because I too lost my brother 9 years ago from a terrible construction accident. He was only 26 years old. Thanks for sharing your beautiful childhood memories of your brother. I bet he’s eating this cheese cake somewhere smiling down at you! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    June 22, 2011 at 3:35 am

    What a touching tribute. Thank you for sharing your memories and Glenn’s favorite cheesecake. I’ve never heard of Zweiback biscuits before. Now I’m curious.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 3:32 am

    What a lovely guest post! That cheesecake is fabulous and so tempting. A great use of Zwieback toasts.



  • Reply
    Sawsan@chef in disguise
    June 22, 2011 at 2:41 am

    That is a wonderful tribute..Glenn sounds like a special person..thank you for sharing the story and the recipe..
    I agree with Maris..this looks so good it should be illegal

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 2:27 am

    What a beautifully written post in honor of a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing about your brother, Daryl.

    The images Maris captured of Glenn’s Cheesecake tells all. Looks sinfully delish and good looking texture! Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a good recipe to make Zwieback biscuits at home?

  • Reply
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    June 22, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Such a gorgeous cake! The texture looks absolutely perfect!

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    June 22, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Maris that looks absolutely divine! Just gorgeous and it makes me want to take a fork to my screen to have a bite 😀

  • Reply
    courtney (pancakes and postcards)
    June 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    beautiful, and thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    What a beautiful post, it brought tears to my eyes. Glenn sounds like such a wonderful person, brother and friend.

  • Reply
    sheila @ Elements
    June 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    i had tears in my eyes reading this. But it’s a wonderful tribute to Glenn, and the cheesecake looks wonderful! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Wonderful story and guest post! This cheesecake looks fantastic. Love the fact that it uses Zwieback!

  • Reply
    lynn @ the actor's diet
    June 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    wow what a GORGEOUS cheesecake. recently i’ve heard of a few people who dislike cheesecake. my husband is one of them. how is this possible?!?

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    June 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Lovely story — and how nice to find your mom guest blogging here.

  • Reply
    Lisa from Lisas Yarns
    June 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Yum – it looks delicious. And what a great way to honor the memory of your uncle… How sad that his life was so short, he sounded like an amazing man.

    I love that your mom guest blogged! I wonder if I could get my mom to do that!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I feel blessed to be able to read this post.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    What a sweet tribute! Bittersweet. He sounds like the brother I always wish I had. And zwiebacks? I remember those! I think you may be able to still find them in the baby food section. The cheese cake is so thick and fluffy – scrumptious!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    This was such a beautiful post. It warms my heart not only thinking about my own brother, but the possibility of the relationship between my own kids. Thank you so much for sharing.

    This cheesecake is a fabulous way to remember someone, it looks amazing.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    That must have been hard to lose a brother when he was so young, but how nice that you’re sharing his memory with Maris through this recipe. Family recipes like this are so precious.

  • Reply
    The Teenage Taste
    June 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Wow. Glenn sounds like an amazing person. Thanks for sharing his story, Maris!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    What a lovely tribute to Glenn!!!! Thank you for sharing his story and the recipe.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Tarte du Jour
    June 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    What a great tribute to Glenn from your mother! Very touching indeed. The cheesecake looks fabulous and and prefer mine bandaid free.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Wonderful recipe – thanks Daryl! I lost my sister a little over three years ago and I know how very hard it is to lose a sibling.

  • Reply
    Shari @ Chicago Cuisine Critique
    June 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I love the story behind the food. The cheesecake looks delicious!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    This cheesecake looks wonderful! I love a nice tall vanilla cheesecake unadorned! Making my mouth water…

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    awww haha cute post!! and ommmgshhhhh this looks sooooooooo good! reminds me of ricotta cake! one of my faves ever~ 😀

  • Reply
    Nelly Rodriguez
    June 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Love how the filling has no flour, instead it has cornstarch. I bet it is definitely delicious!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Touchy story, great tribute. Donna Hay’s recipe suggests leaving in the oven for an hour afterwards and then I think an hour or two in the refrigerator. This recipe really tests your patience, and planning:)

  • Reply
    Simply Life
    June 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    oh what a great guest post!

  • Reply
    Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    June 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Daryl, Thanks for sharing such a touching tribute to your brother’s memory. The cheesecake is lovely- I can see why it was his favorite! 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather @girlichef
    June 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Mmmm, it looks incredible! What a wonderful way to carry on Glenn’s memory (one of many ways, I’m sure) and share his love with the world, he sounds like a wonderful spirit. Thanks so much for putting a smile on my face, a tear in my eye, and a rumble in my belly 🙂

  • Reply
    Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray
    June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    This is a beautiful post–thank you so much for sharing your memories of your brother with us, and for sharing one of his favorite desserts, as well.

  • Reply
    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
    June 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Nothing like something sweet and delicious to remember someone you love. The uncanny thing for me is that I have a brother named Glen that also loves making cheesecakes. Lovely story and a fabulous way to remember him.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    What a sad but wonderful story, Daryl! I can tell your brother was a warm, sensitive and very special young man.

    Your cheesecake looks delicious and how wonderful it bears your brother’s name. I was on the receiving end of a band-aid in food myself once, at a resort! Grossed me out too. Not so bad among family members 🙂

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    great to meet you Maris’s Mum and lovely recipe may your brothers memories continue to live on and inspire us all to be better people

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing both the story and the recipe! The cheesecake looks perfect.

  • Reply
    The Waspy Redhead
    June 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Yum, sounds like a great recipe. Thanks for sharing Mrs. Callahan!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Such a pretty little cheesecake and what a touching story. Thanks for sharing, Daryl!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    First off, Glenn sounds like an incredible man! Fabulous that you are able to remember him through all of the memories and this incredible recipe. Looks so yummy. I honestly have never made a cheesecake and now I want to!

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