New York-Style Cheesecake

There are few desserts that I love as much as cheesecake–its creamy texture against the delightful crunch of a graham cracker crust, without being too sweet as so many desserts are. Divine! Plus you can dress it up in a multitude of ways, depending on the season, everything from fresh fruit to dark chocolate to marshmallows (I came across recipe for a s’mores cheesecake). The idea of making cheesecake always seemed so terrifying to me, perhaps because I enjoy eating an excellent cheesecake so much. But it was time to face my fears and wade into battle–a creamy, delicious, drizzled-with-strawberry-goodness battle!

Recipe

from Bon Appétit Desserts

Crust
9 graham crackers, broken into pieces
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes

Filling
5 8-oz packages cream cheese
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grind graham crackers to coarse crumbs in processor. Add butter and sugar. Process until blended and crumb mixture begins to stick together. Press crumb mixture onto bottom (not sides) of 9″ diameter springform pan. Bake crust until golden and firm to touch, about 25 minutes. Cool crust in pan on rack. Wrap outside of pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Maintain oven temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Beat in eggs and egg yolk one at a time just until blended, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Sift flour over; beat on low speed until blended. Scrape filling over crust in pan. Place cake in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan; place in oven. Bake cheesecake in water bath until center is softly set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand in water bath for 5 minutes. Place cheesecake in pan on rack. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Cool completely at room temperature. Cover and chill overnight.

Musings

Upon first bite, it was, in a word, delicious. I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out, largely because I had believed cheesecake to be this mythical dessert that would be infinitely harder to make than it actually was. David commented that we probably could’ve let it bake for 5 minutes longer to let it set just a touch more and that the graham cracker crust could be a touch crispier. I suspect that a little bit of water may have leeched in and could’ve contributed to the crust being not super crunchy (as we found a bit of water in amongst the layers of tinfoil). However, it was nonetheless a rousing success–one we ardently hope to share with others, as it would be problematic for our waistlines to consume this entire cheesecake ourselves.

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