Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New York Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my (many) weaknesses when it comes to food. I am willing to try almost any type or flavor of cheesecake. I’ve had several versions but there is always one classic that never gets old: New York Style. Up until recently I’ve not had any springform pans to be able to try this classic at home. I purchased some right after Christmas and forgot about them until now. I am so incredibly glad that I remembered them. I made this cheesecake for my mom’s birthday this year and everyone just loved it!

New York Cheesecake
Adapted from: Annie’s Eats, originally Baking Illustrated
Yields: 1 9-inch cheesecake

For the crust:
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
4 oz graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted, for greasing the pan

For the cheesecake:
2 ½ lb cream cheese (5 8-oz packages), chopped roughly at room temperature
Pinch salt
1 ½ cups white sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks plus 6 large eggs, at room temperature

To make the crust, preheat oven to 325 degrees and adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Brush the bottom and sides of the pan with ½ of the tablespoon of melted butter. In a separate small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Mix well and pour into the springform pan. Press the crust firmly onto the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Using your fingers has always been the best method for me. Bake until fragrant and it begins to brown around the edges, around 13 minutes. Cook on a wire rack while preparing filling.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. 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 slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the salt and half of the sugar and continue to beat on medium-low until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl again. Beat in the remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl and add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat on a low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs and yolks one at a time until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl in between each addition.

Brush the sides of the springform pan with remaining ½ tablespoon of melted butter. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet in case the pan leaks (mine were new so luckily they didn’t leak). Pour the filling onto the baked crust in the pan. Bake 10 minutes, turning often, and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees. Continue to turn about halfway through baking time. Bake until the cheesecake reads about 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Do not bake less than 1 hour and 45 minutes. I baked mine for about 1 hour and 30 minutes and it wasn’t finished yet so I had to bake it a little more later. I would say that 2hours is a great time frame to aim for. Note: The temperature of the cheesecake might exceed 160 degrees, but this is okay.

Transfer cake to wire rack and cool until barely warm to the touch, about 2 ½ hours. Run a paring knife between the cake and the springform pan sides. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to serve, at least 3 hours. To unmold the cheesecake, remove the sides of the pan and slide a thin metal spatula underneath the crust to loosen. Slide the cake onto a serving plate and let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Note: Use a long, thin and sharp knife that has been run under hot water and dried for slicing. Wipe the blade clean and rewarm in between slices.

To make the strawberry sauce, simply mix 1 pint of strawberries roughly chopped with 1/3 cup sugar in a covered bowl or tupperware container and leave in the fridge for 3+ hours.

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