The Baking Illustrated Challenge: New York Cheese Cake


*blows off a few inches of dust*

Hello! I know I have been gone for about two months and I shall explain in a later post, but lets get to this cheese cake before its the new year!

The day was hectic as I made all of our dishes for our combined birthday dinner. Gizmo was running around excited to go to grandma’s (Brian’s mom’s house). There was so much going on ..ie where is Gizmo’s sweater, collar , harness, don’t forget a towel… that I completely forgot to turn down the oven from 500 to 200. Yes that is a large difference.

I heard the fire alarm go off and though *sniff* nothing is burning… why would it be going off? Well little did I know that the cheese cake was burning. So for 20 minutes it cooked at too high of a temp and ended up very brown on top. In the end I figured it out , put foil over the top , and turned down the oven. Thankfully the cheese cake still tasted good, and the strawberry sauce was perfect. My husband also bought a back up chocolate cake just in case ;).

In the end we had a wonderful birthday and that is all that matters.

New York Cheesecake (with fresh strawberry topping)

Graham Cracker Crust

5 T unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 T melted unsalted butter for greasing the pan

8 whole graham crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed in a food processor to fine, even crumbs

1 T sugar

Filling

2 1/2 pounds (5 8oz pkg’s) cream cheese cut into rough 1 inch chunks at room temperature

1/8 t salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup sour cream

2 t juice from 1 lemon

2 t vanilla extract

2 large egg yolks plus 6 large eggs , at room temperature

1. For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9 in spring form pan with 1/2 T of the melted butter. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl; add 5 T of the melted butter and toss with a fork until evenly moistened.  Empty the crumbs into the spring-form pan and, following the illustrations on page 395, press evenly into the pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around the edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while making the filling.

2. For the Cheesecake Filling: Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium -low speed to break up and soften it slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape the beater and the bottom and sides of the bowl well with a rubber spatula; add the salt and about half of the sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; Beat in the remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the egg yolks and beat at medium low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the remaining eggs 2 at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl between additions.

3. Brush the sides of the springform pan with the remaining 1/2 T melted butter. Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills if the pan leaks). Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until the cheesecake reads about 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer inserted in the center, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Run a paring knife between the cake and the springform pan sides. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (The cheese cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days)

4. To unmold the cheesecake, remove the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan to loosen, then slide the cake onto a serving plate. Let the cheese cake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges (see note) and serve with Fresh strawberry topping, if desired.

New York Cheese cake with Strawberry Topping
New York Cheese cake with Strawberry Topping
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