Recipes, huh? I got a few of those. But as a matter of priorities, this is definitely the most important.
I got my original recipe for cheesecake back in ’72 from the mother of a girlfriend. Spent the next 30-odd years tweaking the ingredients, preparation, cooking, and cooling (and going through more springform pans than most people can imagine… and a lot more than most people ever own, which is usually somewhere around zero). The cheesecake had to have the right flavor, density, and consistency from center to edge. There were many attempts with varying results over the years. Cripes, it took me a few just to figure out a “brown” top or edge on the cheesecake actually meant it was overcooked (stupid “pretty” pictures in cookbooks…).
You see, I really like good cheesecake…
It wasn’t until 2004 that I finally got the recipe exactly how I wanted it. Some might think “it’s too difficult” or “it takes too long”, neither of which I consider relevant (you’ve seen my chassis builds, right?), but by any consideration the reward is well worth it for the true cheesecake junkie.
Whip one up and get a fix!
Rick’s New York Style Cheesecake
1-1/3 cup Graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
5 packages (8-oz) of cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (fresh)
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
7 eggs, separated:
7 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1) Have all filling ingredients at room temperature before mixing.
1.1) Unwrap the cream cheese while still cold and place in the mixing bowl to be used.
2) Have all the ingredients measured and ready for addition prior to starting to mix.
2.1) Combine the sugar, flour and salt in another bowl.
2.2) Separate the eggs last, just prior to starting to mix.
2.2.1) Each yolk and white is to be added one at a time; use individual containers (i.e. cups).
Thoroughly combine the Graham cracker crumbs and melted butter; press into a 9” springform pan covering the bottom uniformly, and around the bottom edge slightly up the pan side.
Springform Pan prep and Oven preheat:
A springform pan with a non-stick coating is recommended. (A thin coating of butter around the springform pan sides can also be used.)
Cover the outside of the springform pan with heavy aluminum foil to make the pan water-tight.
Have a pan or baking dish larger than the springform pan to use as a water bath. Have simmering water available before placing the cheesecake in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Use an electric mixer set to “slow” speed for all mixing.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese till smooth; mix in the vanilla and lemon peel; while mixing slowly add the combined sugar, flour and salt, and mix well; while mixing add the egg yolks one at a time, beating slowly and mixing well after each; add the egg whites one at a time, beating slowly and mixing well after each; slowly add the heavy cream while gently mixing, until thoroughly mixed. Immediately pour into springform pan.
Baking / Cooling:
Place the springform pan into the pan/dish to be used as a water bath; add the hot water to the bath pan/dish, bringing the hot water to a level approximately half-way up the side of the springform pan.
Immediately place the water bath / springform pan into the preheated oven.
Bake at 450 F for 12 minutes; without opening the oven, lower the temperature setting to 300 F and bake for 60 minutes longer. (There should be no more than a light-brown edge at the rim of the cheesecake.)
Turn off the oven, open the oven door an inch or two, and allow the cheesecake (still in the water bath and oven) to set for 30 minutes; remove the water bath and cheesecake from the oven; remove the cheesecake from the water bath and remove the aluminum foil; work a thin-bladed knife between the edge of the cheesecake and the sides of the springform pan (to ensure cheesecake is not sticking to the pan sides); place the cheesecake on a rack and cool for 30 minutes; loosen the sides of the springform pan and cool for another 30 minutes; remove the sides of the springform pan and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature for 2 hours; return the sides to the springform pan, cover with a paper towel (do not cover tightly) and place in a refrigerator to chill for 2 – 4 hours. Serve!
Toppings are only optional with a good NY cheesecake. Instead, have fruit or sauces available to add to the cheesecake when serving. Also, since only 1/4 cup of heavy cream is used and it usually doesn’t come in containers smaller than 1/2 cup (8-floz), the remainder can be used to make fresh whipped cream to serve with the cheesecake (I recommend buying extra heavy cream).
Total time to make the cheesecake is 7 - 9 hours! (At least 5 hours prep, mixing baking and cooling before being placed in the refrigerator!) Plan accordingly!
Oh yeah, some pictures too!
Springform pan all ready for the filling:
Just before adding hot water to the water bath and cooking in the oven:
Gradually cooled and ready for chilling:
Serve it up!
(Whipping up some of that extra heavy cream doesn’t hurt either!)
The only thing better than one of these cheesecakes is more than one…
Rick / CMF3