Do you watch “Friends”? Anyone? Remember that episode “The one with all the cheesecakes”? Briefly – a cheesecake was delivered by accident to Rachel’s apartment, and she and Chandler eat the whole thing. Then they order a replacement for the person it should have been delivered to.
When it arrives it again is delivered to their apartment by mistake, they eat it again… I forget how many they order, and then eat. The final one they argue over and end up splitting it in half. Then Rachel accidentally drops hers on the floor and tries to convince Chandler to share his half, when he laugh’s she hits his onto the ground as well. The episode ends when them eating it off the floor… IT WAS THAT GOOD…
Well THIS is that cheesecake. It’s THAT good, Promise. It’s rich and creamy and spectacular! There are so many styles of cheesecakes, some have cream, some have sour cream, some use different cheese’s like ricotta, etc… This is not light, or airy like some, and if you prefer that style then this isn’t for you, but for me this is perfection.
It cooks low and slow, doesn’t get overly brown, and has a great texture all the way through. The sour cream topping is optional, some would say it doesn’t belong on this cheesecake, that it’s more for NY style, but I love that BIT of tang to go along with this cheesecake, but it’s amazing without it too. My husband loves berry topping, I love it plain but to each his own!
- 1 1/4 C Vanilla wafer crumbs
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ½ C ground gingersnaps (optional)
- 3 lbs Cream cheese softened
- 1 ½ C sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 whole large eggs (room temp)
- 2 large egg yolks (room temp)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1 1/2 C sour cream
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 375
- mix all the crust ingredients and toss lightly with fork until well blended.
- Press firmly into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan.
- Bake on the bottom rack until crisp and golden, abut 15 min.
- Let cool.
- Reduce oven to 300 and place baking dish full of hot water on the bottom rack to create moisture (leave this in while baking).
- Beat cheese sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on med until light and fluffy, about 30-60 sec.
- Scrape the bowl, beat 45 sec more - make sure it's smooth with no chunks.
- Lightly whisk the eggs and yolks together and add to cream cheese mixture (with the lemon juice).
- Mix on low speed until they are incorporated and the batter is velvety, about 30 sec, scrape the bowl and mix 10 sec more - do NOT overbeat.
- Pour the filling over crust, bake on the center rack until golden, about 1 1/4 hours +.
- When you open the rack and shift the pan the center will jiggle a little, but not too much. This is the trick to learn, you might slightly undercook (not bad) or slightly overcook (okay) the first time as you get used to this style.
- Just the center 2-3 inches will jiggle and not like soup, like a loose jello jigglers.
- If you want the topping add it now.
- Turn the oven off and crack open the door and let the cake cool then refrigerate overnight, cheesecake tastes better after a day or two in the fridge.
- Mix all the ingredients
- Pour over the warm cake and lightly spread the topping
- Return to oven for 5 min cool completely and refrigerate.
Okay, my tips and tricks –
- Room temperate ingredients are key for a smooth texture.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar as much as you want, make it smooth, but once you add the eggs, do NOT overbeat, just mix on low until they are barely incorporated, beating after you add the eggs is what often leads to cracking.
- Make sure your oven is the correct temperature (I love my oven thermometer)
- TRY not to open the oven door, like ever, if you can help it.
- That said if you run out of water in the pan on the bottom of the oven and you need to add more boil it first so it’s hot, then open the oven and pour it into the pan (I use a 9×13 so it holds more and I don’t have to refill it)
- Cook your cheesecake until it’s still a bit jiggly in the center, like a loose jello jiggler, but not liquid, in the center 2-3 inches. It will keep cooking afterwards a bit, and IMO better to be slightly under cooked than overcooked.
- Turn off the oven and crack open the oven door to let it cool slowly, this will help it finish cooking but not cool TOO fast and crack
- Do NOT eat it right away, cheesecake sets and gets BETTER with time in the fridge, at LEAST 8 hours, I prefer a full day or two for better flavor
I’ve been asked about waterbaths, I use one for my flourless chocolate cake so why not this? Honestly I don’t trust them with springform pans! I’m always nervous that it will soak into the cake/crust, And I’ve found that having the water pan in the bottom is enough moisture for my recipe. THAT said changes in altitude and humidity will effect this a bit, mostly cooking time.
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