New York Cheesecake
I love NY. Yes, I am slightly biased but I have at least traveled most of the country and I’ve come to the conclusion that NY is where its at. We have the best pizza, the best diners (real diners where you can order breakfast at 11PM…not those chain burger establishments with guitars on the wall), the best bagels, a variety of authentic cuisines including Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian, Indian, and the best local establishments boasting an abundance of fresh and local foods from the beautiful Hudson Valley. But most of all, I love our coffee and pastries. The coffee is strong and the pastries are scrumptious. And while I know there are (and I’ve had) good desserts around the country, no where, I repeat no where, have I had a cannoli or cheesecake as good as here in New York.
Now if you disagree, I’m willing to try others but just a word of caution. Do not pollute my cheesecake with lemon zest or sour cream. I want a thick, creamy cake that has a perfect balance of sweetness to cheese and tastes just as good plain as it will with strawberry sauce or chocolate ganache.
This recipe is for just that. You can add different toppings or sauces or just eat it plain. You need to make it at least 24 hours before you plan on serving it although it ages quite well and the flavor only intensifies after 48 hours. Oh and for those of you who have had my cheesecake-this is not the same recipe I use for my white chocolate cheesecake, that’s still my secret weapon 🙂
New York Style Cheesecake
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese (5-8 oz packages)
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Fill a teapot with hot water and bring to a boil.
For the crust: Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan. Wrap the outside of the pan in 2 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.
2. For the cheesecake: In a large mixing bowl (or standing mixer) beat cream cheese for about a minute until its all combined. Gradually add sugar. Add eggs and yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula in between each addition. Add flour, vanilla and heavy cream.
3. Very lightly butter the sides of the spring form pan and pour batter into prepared pan. Set a roasting pan or other large pan into the preheated oven. Place the spring form pan inside it and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes half way up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours or until the middle is set.
4. Remove spring form pan from the water bath. Let cool for a couple minutes and then CAREFULLY remove the foil from the outside of the pan (you may need two people to do this the first time). Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate over night or at least 8 hours.
5. For the Strawberry Sauce: Combine berries, sugar, water and zest and cook until berries are soft and the liquid is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon on top of the cheesecake and serve.
To get the round servings pictured here I used a large round cookie cutter and pressed into the cheesecake. With the cutter in place, run a thin knife around the edge. Remove the cookie cutter and then take the round serving out by removing enough of cheesecake around it to slide it out.
My New York:
Tantillo’s Farm Market, the place where I grew up picking apples every Fall