New York Cheesecake

recipe courtesy of Joy of Baking.com

Check out their video here.

Ahh Cheesecake…rich, dense, and elegant.  You can serve cheesecake at your fanciest dinner party, or you can serve it on a random Tuesday night and it will elevate even the most humble meal.

I did some research for this post ( EzineArticles.com) and I discovered that the origin of cheesecake is Greek.  A form of cheesecake was first served to the athletes in the Olympics, to be eaten as an energy source.  The Greek people afterwards started making the little cakes and it became a custom for the bride-to-be to make and serve them to the friends of the groom.  That custom turned into brides and grooms serving wedding cake to their guests.

The cheesecakes that we know and love today, originate from immigrant New York City neighborhoods.  There are two styles; Italian, which uses ricotta cheese in the recipe and sometimes even candied fruits, and Jewish  or New York style, which is the cream cheese version.

This recipe comes from Joy of Baking.com.  I have lots and lots of cheesecake recipes, but I chose this one because their website has a video that accompanies the recipe.  I watched the video, and I thought it might be helpful to anyone out there who has never made a cheesecake, or hasn’t made one in a while. With Easter coming up, it is time to dig out the cheesecake recipes and start planning a menu. Hopefully one of these will fill the need for your holiday cheesecake. Enjoy!

Cheesecake Berry Baskets

Cheesecake Bars

Mini Easter Cheesecakes

Crust Ingredients

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling Ingredients

32 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free)

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 Tablespoon lemon zest (I used the zest of 1 lemon and 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients

1 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. You will need a 9 inch springform pan for this recipe.  Spray the pan with Pam, and place it on a baking sheet.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place the rack in the center of the oven.

2. To make the crust- Place the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium-sized bowl and combine using a rubber spatula.  Pour crumbs into prepared springform pan.  Press an even layer of crumbs on the bottom of the pan and about one inch up the sides.  You can use a spoon, or your hands, I used my hands.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you have the filling made.

3. To make the filling-Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour.  Mix on a low-medium speed until smooth.  You do not want to beat this hard or fast because it adds too many air bubbles.  Just take your time and mix until the lumps are gone.  You will have to stop several times and scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl just to make sure that the mixture is smooth.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on a low-medium speed until each egg is incorporated into the batter.  Stop and scrape the bowl several times as you do this.  Add the whipping cream, lemon zest and vanilla.  Again, mix on a low-medium speed.  After everything is mixed, scrape the bowl sides and bottom and make sure you’ve got all the lumps out.  Take the pan out of the fridge and place it back on the baking sheet.  Pour the filling into the pan, and place the pan in the preheated oven.

5. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 °F., then lower the oven temperature to 250 °F.   Continue to bake for about 60-90 minutes, or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly or giggly ( I checked my cheesecake at 60 minutes and it was not ready, so I added 5 minutes.  I checked it again and added 5 more minutes, and then it was done…so mine took 70 minutes).  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on a wire rack, leave the oven on.

6. To make the topping- Mix the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla together in a small bowl.  Spread the topping gently over the hot cheesecake, then place the cheesecake back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and using a sharp knife on the inside edge of the pan, loosen the cheesecake from the edge of the pan.  Doing this helps to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.  Do not remove the sides of the pan.

7. Let the cheesecake cool completely, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours (overnight is best).  When you are ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan, slice the cheesecake and garnish with fruit or sauce.

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