Saturday, November 30, 2013

New York Style Cheesecake- Wow!

I love New York Style cheesecake, but I had only heard horror stories of it sinking and cracking while baking, so I never had the courage to make it myself. Until this week. And am I glad I finally gave it a try as it turned out absolutely spectacular! True, I followed all directions closely, to avoid any failures but I was really rewarded for sticking to them. The cheesecake was picture-perfect and amazingly delicious: creamy, light and decadent! I hope you give this awesome recipe a go- it really isn't as challenging as it is usually made to sound.

The most important tips to remember:
  • use ingredients at room temperature
  • grease bottom and sides of pan to avoid cracking
  • do not overbeat
  • bake in water bath (read below)
  • do not overbake
  • allow enough time to cool in oven

Graham cracker crust:

  • 1-1/2 packed cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 12 cracker rectangles)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted; plus 1 teaspoon melted butter for the pan


  • 4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • cranberry-cointreau sauce (see below) 

Set out the ingredients:

At least 4 hours before you begin, set the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream on your kitchen counter because it’s essential that the ingredients be at room temperature before you mix the batter.

Make the crust:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in the 5 Tbs. melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Dump the crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan that’s about 2-1/2 inches deep and press them firmly into the bottom and about halfway up the sides. Bake until the crust is fragrant and warm to the touch, 5 to 7 min.; it’s fine if the crust starts to look golden, but it shouldn’t brown too much. Let the pan cool on a rack while you prepare the cheesecake batter.

Make the cheesecake batter:

With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sugar at medium-low speed until the mixture is smooth and somewhat fluffy, about 2 min. Scrape the bowl. On low speed, beat in the flour. One at a time, beat in the eggs on low speed, mixing the batter for only 15 to 20 seconds after each egg is added, just until it’s incorporated, and scraping the bowl each time. Don’t overbeat. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat at low speed until well combined, about 30 seconds. The batter should be smooth and have the consistency of a thick milkshake.

Bake the cake in a water bath:

Wrap the outside of the pan tightly with two sheets of extra-wide (18-inch) heavy-duty aluminum foil to make the pan waterproof. Brush the inside rim of the pan with a light coating of the remaining 1 tsp. melted butter, taking care not to disturb the crust.

Pour the batter into the prepared crust; it should cover the crust completely and come to within about 1/2 inch of the pan’s rim. Put the springform pan in a roasting pan and carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake at 350°F, without opening the oven door for the first hour, until the top of the cake is golden brown and doesn’t wobble in the middle when the pan is nudged (a little jiggle is fine), about 1 hour 10 min. to 1 hour 15 min. (The cheesecake will be gooey in the middle; don’t worry, it will set as it cools.)

Let the cake cool:

After turning the oven off, leave cheesecake in the oven and crack oven door a little bit. Let cheesecake rest and gradually cool in the oven for about an hour.
Remove the cheesecake pan from the water bath, remove the foil wrapping (you may need an extra set of hands for this), and set the pan on a wire rack. Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside rim of the pan to free the cheesecake from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool on the rack until barely warm.
Refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours or overnight. The cheesecake will firm up during chilling.

I also made the Cranberry cointreau sauce but did not serve it on top, as was suggested in the original recipe since there were children at the party. Instead, I served it in a separate dish on the side so the grown-ups could help themselves to it as a garnish. The combination is truly delicious!

Cranberry-cointreau sauce:

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 12-oz. package fresh cranberries, rinsed, dried, and picked over
  • 2 Tbs. Cointreau
In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, and 3/4 cup water to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the cranberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the foam has turned fuchsia and many of the berries have popped, about 5 min. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the Cointreau. Pour into a heatproof bowl and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours, but preferably overnight. The sauce can be made two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Serve the cheesecake:

I decorated my cheesecake with small rosettes of whipped cream and cranberries on top of them. You could most certainly leave it plain. It is delicious either way! :)

Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside rim of the pan again—taking care not to disturb the crust—to loosen the chilled cheesecake. Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan, and then use a wide spatula to transfer the cake to a serving plate.
Right before serving, use a slotted spoon to scoop the cranberries out of the syrup and let them drain briefly before spooning them onto the top of the cake. (Save the leftover syrup for pouring onto vanilla ice cream or mixing with seltzer to make cran-berry spritzers.)
Before slicing, rinse a long, thin-bladed knife under hot water. Wipe the blade between slices and rinse it under hot water again as needed.
Wrapped and refrigerated, the topped cheesecake will keep for a week.

I found this recipe here:  New York Style Cheesecake

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