New York Cheesecake

This recipe comes from the Cooks’ Illustrated cookbook, American Classics. There are no pictures because of its popularity. It was eaten and enjoyed quickly. (Not just by me and Fred. I made this for a baby shower and we divided up the remaining pieces.) I recommend making it a few days ahead of time because it gets better as it sits for a few days. Serve alone, or with a fruit coulis–mango, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, etc. Just a note–don’t be alarmed if the top gets very brown. That is supposed to happen with this type of cheesecake. Be careful to follow directions exactly as written and to not overbeat the batter. It will rise up and fall if you do. Make sure you don’t over bake, or you will have a huge crack down the middle. If that happens, don’t panic. It will still taste good. Enjoy!

New York Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For Graham Cracker Crust:
8 whole graham crackers (4 ounces), broken into pieces and processed into fine crumbs in a food processor until uniformly fine
1 Tbsp. sugar
5 Tbsp. melted butter, plus 1 Tbsp. for greasing pan

For Filling:
2 1/2 lbs. cream cheese (5, 8 oz. bars, not low-fat), cut into 1″ chunks and left to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) white sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp. juice from one lemon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large whole eggs

Instructions:
1. For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush a 9″ sprinform pan with 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter. Combine cracker crumbs, sugar, and 5 Tbsp. melted butter in a medium bowl. Toss with a fork until evenly moistened. Place the crumbs in the springform pan and press evenly in the bottom of the pan. Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup or a ramekin to get the surface smooth and even. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 13 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

2. For the filling: Increase the oven temp. to 500 degrees. Using an electric stand mixer and using a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften the pieces–about 1 minute. Scrape the beater, bottom, and sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the salt and half the sugar. Beat at med-low speed for 1 minute. Scrape beater and bowl again, and beat in remaining sugar for 1 minute. Scrape bowl, add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape bowl, add the 2 egg yolks and beat at med-low speed for 1 minute. Scrape bowl and add the remaining eggs 2 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, and scraping bowl in between. DO NOT OVERMIX.

3. Brush the sides of the springform pan with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter. Set sprinform pan on a rimmed baking dish–in case the pan leaks. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake for 10 minutes at 500 degrees. Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking until the cheesecake registers an internal temperature of 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. That will take about 1 1/2 hours–but check after about an hour. The center should still be jiggly. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool until barely warm–about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Run a thin paring knife between the cake and pan sides. Wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or up to 4 days. (You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.)

4. To unmold, remove pan sides. Either serve directly from the pan, or use a thin, metal spatula to slide the cake onto a serving platter. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges and serve.

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