In looking for the perfect cheesecake recipe, I realized choosing one out of the thousands was quite daunting and nearly impossible. This is my first "official" cheesecake and I wanted it to be great. I knew right away I needed to consult one of my favorite recipe bloggers--Annie. I have used many of her recipes before and they have never failed me. We have similar styles and her cooking methods are refined yet down-to-earth. When I found her rave reviews about this cheesecake recipe, I knew I had found what I was looking for.
*Note, this cake will be served tomorrow night for Kevin and Brian's birthday desserts, so I have yet to hear feedback. I will post pictures and results later.
**Note #2: everyone raved about the cheesecake. The sides pulled away a bit as it cooled, so the edges are a bit imperfect, but taste wise it's top notch!
New York Cheesecake
For the crust:
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 additional tbsp., melted for greasing the pan
4 oz. (approx. 8 whole) graham crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed into fine, even crumbs*
1 tbsp. sugar
(*Note – if you have a kitchen scale, definitely weigh the graham crackers. I found the amount to be significantly different than the number of whole crackers they suggest. Of course, it varies depending on size/brand of cracker.)
For the cheesecake:
2 1/2 lb. (5 8-oz. pkgs.) cream cheese, cut into rough 1-inch chunks, at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks plus 6 large eggs, at room temperature
To make the crust, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with 1/2 tablespoon of the melted butter. In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, 5 tablespoons melted butter, and sugar. Toss with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the crumbs to the springform pan and use the bottom of a ramekin to firmly press the crumbs evenly into the pan bottom. (Note: this is a fabulous technique! I have used it several times since, and it does a great job.) Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around the edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften it slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape the beater and the bottom and sides of the bowl well with a rubber spatula; add the salt and about half of the sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; beat in the remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the remaining eggs 2 at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl between additions.
Brush the sides of the springform pan with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon melted butter. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills in case the pan leaks. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until the cheesecake reads about 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Run a paring knife between the cake and the springform pan sides. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.
To unmold the cheesecake, removed the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan to loosen, then slide the cake onto a serving plate. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. (Use a long, thin, sharp knife that has been run under hot water and then dried for slicing. Wipe the blade clean and rewarm between slices.)