The richest, creamiest, most melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake I've ever had.
|3 8-oz. pkgs.||Cream Cheese, softened|
|1&1/2 cups||Graham Cracker Crumbs, 10-12 sheets, crushed|
|6 Tbsps.||Butter, more or less|
|2 cups||Sugar, divided usage, see Notes|
|2 tsps.||Vanilla, divided usage, plus whatever dribbles over|
|8 ozs.||Sour Cream, see Notes|
Remove the Cream Cheese from the refrigerator to soften at room temperature. Grease a 12 inch springform pan with butter and set aside. Remove the Eggs from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using them.
Finely crush the Graham Crackers and set aside. Melt the Butter in a microwave safe bowl, add 1/4 cup of the Sugar and stir to soften the sugar granules, microwaving another short time or two between stirring. Add the graham crumbs, stir to blend, then press evenly into the bottom only of the greased springform pan being sure to cover the seam between the bottom and side. Refrigerate until ready to be filled. Do not pre-bake.
Preheat an oven to 350°F.
Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and light. Add 1&1/2 cups of the Sugar and the Salt. Beat until all are well combined, then beat in one overflowing teaspoon of the Vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, gently mixing each in just until the last one is combined. Pour the cheese mixture atop the graham crackers in the pan and spread to evenly cover the crust.
Bake for 35 to 50 minutes or just until the center no longer jiggles like Jell-O when you bump the side of the pan. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 425°F and prepare the topping.
Combine the Sour Cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of the Sugar and the remaining one overflowing teaspoon of Vanilla. Once the oven is up to 425°F AND the cheesecake has cooled for 15 minutes, pour the sour cream mixture over the entire top of the cheesecake, swirl or shake to evenly and uniformly distribute it, see Notes. Return it to the oven and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, removing it as soon as you see any part of the top begin to discolor or changing to off white.
Let cool completely on a rack. If not serving soon, refrigerate with the side of the pan still attached. Before serving, separate the cake from the side of the pan with a spatula, if necessary, and remove the side of the pan. Slice and serve.
Refrigerate any not eaten in four hours.
I think it is the sour cream topping which makes this the best New York style cheesecake I've had, or at least I've made. I've never succeeded at making a New York style cheesecake that is creamy with a graham cracker crust like this, so I've always made my old fashion German style cakey cheese cake with a dough crust. Leave it to a life long carpenter to show me the light.
Yes that's a 12 inch diameter springform pan, not easy to find, and though the cheesecake is thin, it results in the perfect topping/cheesecake/crust ratio in every bite.
If available, I use Baker's Sugar, a.k.a. Superfine Sugar or Caster Sugar, for the 1/4 cup in the crust and the 1/4 cup in the topping.
Gary gave several admonishments about not burning the crust and offered these tips to avoid it:
I did not nuke the cheese mixture, nor did I put it atop ice cubes. I did however use a water bath to hold the springform pan as described here and I replaced the water with ice water before returning it to the 425°F oven. Both were probably overkill and next time I'll try just setting the springform pan atop a larger pizza pan. By the way, my first attempt was done after only 35 minutes of baking and that was using the water bath method.
I told Gary it didn't feel like I had enough of the sour cream topping to uniformly cover the top of the cheesecake and he confessed that he usually uses more than half of a 16 ounce container. Thanks a lot Gary, LOL. I might also try nuking the topping a little, or at least letting the sour cream reach room temperature so it is more runny to allow gravity and inertia to spread it more uniformly over the whole top.
Though slicing and transferring are easiest when the cheesecake is very cold, for the best flavor and texture, you may want to let slices stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
Cheese Cake - On old fashion cheese cake with a dough crust like I remember from the German bakery.
Source: Gary Horstmann, a friend from the seminary.
Yield: 1 12" cheesecake
Nutrition Facts per Serving:
32g Fat (58.3% calories from fat)
trace Dietary Fiber
Exchanges per Serving:
1 Lean Meat
0 Non-Fat Milk
2 Other Carbohydrates.
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