I finally made one of my favourite desserts: Cheesecake... and might I add, it turned out pretty darn delicious. I found a recipe by Chef Tyler Florence, which was relatively easy to make and it had some solid reviews. The ingredients for the crust I ended up slightly modifying and I created my own sauce but the rest of the recipe I followed as outlined. The consistency of the Cheesecake and sweetness was to my liking. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. New York style Cheesecake is getting scratched off as an option to order from restaurant menus (why order what you can make right?).
I also watched Anna Olsen on TV bake Cheesecake a few days ago but she baked her Cheesecake without a water bath and included an extra egg yolk and starch. I'm assuming it'll be a slightly tougher cheesecake, but I'm tempted to try that variation as well to compare and see which is better.
- cream cheese - 500 grams
- sour cream - 1 pint
- sugar - 1 cup
- vanilla - 2 teaspoons
- lemon zest - 1 lemon
- eggs - 3
- graham crackers - 2 cups ground (approximately 30 graham crackers)
- cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
- nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
- unsalted butter - 5 tablespoons
- Strawberry Topping
- strawberries - 1 pint cut into halves or quarters
- lemon zest & juice - 1 lemon
- sugar - 2 tablespoons
- brandy - 1 tablespoon
- starch - 1/2 teaspoon
- aluminum foil - enough to cover a whole pan
Use a food processor to grind 30 graham crackers to give you 2 cups worth. Mix the ground graham crackers with 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Melt 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter and mix in with the rest of the ingredients for the base. Coat the base and sides of the springform pan with non-stick cooking spray, then press in the crumbs by hand to get a solid base (you can also press the crumbs along the side of the pan, but I figured it'd be easier just to use it for the base). Then take a glass with a flat surface and run it over the pressed crumbs to get a clean, tight finish. Cover the pan with some saran wrap and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
Most bakers use a stand mixer, but I have yet to invest in one of those. Hence, I used my mom's food processor. Beat your cream cheese until it's creamy, then one by one add your 3 eggs, pour in 1 cup of sugar gradually and make sure all the ingredients are well combined. Then add the pint of sour cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and the lemon zest. Ensure you scrape down the sides of your bowl periodically to avoid any lumps.
Set the oven to 325 degrees.
Take your baking pan out of the refrigerator. Take two strips of aluminum foil and seal them together to get one large piece with no gaps. Place your baking pan on top of the aluminum and fold the sides up around it, make sure it's airtight, otherwise water will seep through as your cheesecake bakes in the water bath. Then pour in the filling and with a spatula smooth out the top. Place your baking pan in a roasting pan in the oven, pour boiling hot water into the roasting pan to sit a little above halfway of the cheesecake. Bake for about 45 minutes. Once you're done, the cheesecake will appear a bit liquid'y but that's okay, it'll firm up after. Let the pan cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for 6 hours and serve with some strawberry sauce on top.
In a saucepan, add your strawberries, lemon zest, juice, sugar and brandy over medium heat for about 7 minutes. The strawberries will get soft, mash about half of them down (if you want some chunky fruits), add 1/2 a teaspoon of starch and your sauce is done. Let it cool before serving with your cheesecake.
For Chef Tyler Florence's original recipe click here.