New York Style Cheesecake

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I have been making cheesecakes since my kids were little.  Back in the day I wasn’t too worried about too much sugar or fat grams.  So, cheesecakes were just the thing for a special dessert.  Today, we save up our sugar and fat gram allotments so we can have cheesecake once in awhile.  I have a repertoire of “fat free” or “low fat” cheesecake recipes but none come close to touching a really well baked New York Cheesecake.

I am also including a Blueberry sauce, which I started making when the blueberry bushes were just bursting last summer!

New York Cheesecake: Grease a 9-inch or 10 inch spring form pan.  Place the spring form pan on a larger baking pan to catch any leakage while the cheesecake is baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in center of oven.

Crust:

  • 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs or finely crushed vanilla wafers or gingersnaps (process whole cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For Crust: In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the spring form pan.  Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

 

Filling:

  • 32 ounces (4 – 8 ounces packages) cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese, reduced fat or fat free will not work in this recipe.)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Filling:  In bowl of your electric mixer or food processor place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour.  Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling.  Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and continue to bake for about another 1 1/2 hours or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

Topping:

1 cup sour cream (not low fat or fat free)

2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return to oven to bake for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools).

Additional Tips:

Sometimes the surface of the cheesecake cracks.  To help prevent this from happening do not over beat the batter, especially when creaming the cheese and sugar.

Another reason for cracking is over baking the cheesecake.  Your cheesecake is done when it is firm but the middle may still look a little wet.

Also, make sure the spring form pan is well greased as cracking can occur if the cheesecake sticks to the sides as it cools.

Let cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.  This cheesecake tastes best after being refrigerated for at least a day.

Serve with fresh fruit or fruit sauces. Blueberry Sauce listed below.

Makes one – 9 inch cheesecake.

To freeze:  Place the cooled cheesecake on a baking pan and freeze, uncovered, until firm.  Remove the cheesecake from the freezer; wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag.  Seal and return to freezer.  Can be frozen for several months.  Thaw uncovered cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.

The way a cheesecake is baked is the key to its perfection.  Here are some additional baking guidelines.

Professional pastry chefs bake cheesecakes in a water bath. This method bakes the cake very gently so that it does not darken, curdle, or crack. A spring form pan is the best choice for baking cheesecakes because you can remove the cake from the pan easily, but muffin tins or any other cake pan will work fine. If you use a plain cake pan, grease it well and line the bottom with parchment paper.

1. Preheat your oven to the temperature recommended in your cheesecake recipe. To prevent water from seeping into the removable bottom of the spring form pan, wrap aluminum foil completely around the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Place the cheesecake into a jellyroll pan (or any baking pan with sides) and place the pans into the oven. Use a teakettle to fill the outer pan with hot water. Cheesecakes usually bake for about 1½ hours, so check the bath after the first hour and refill if necessary.

2. Because cheesecake is very soft, it can be difficult to judge when it is done cooking. One way to check for doneness is to take the cake’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. The ideal temperature for a cheesecake is around 160 to 165 degrees F (70 to 72 degrees C). You can also insert a small knife into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Some bakers turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in it for an additional hour to ensure that it sets completely.

3. Once the cheesecake has been removed from the oven, it needs to chill thoroughly–preferably overnight. The cake will have pulled away the edges of the pan. Carefully run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen any bits that might stick to the pan.

4. Unclip the clasp at the side of the pan, watching for any areas that stick. Carefully lift the outer ring over the top of the cake. If you used a plain cake pan and don’t want to serve dessert in the pan, invert a plate covered with a sheet of waxed paper over the pan. Tip the cake pan over the plate, and remove the pan. Invert a serving plate over the bottom of the cheesecake, and flip it over. Remove the top plate and paper, trying not to peel off the “skin” on the surface of the cheesecake. Any imperfections can be covered by chocolate ganache, a fruit sauce, or a layer of lightly sweetened sour cream.

5. For a seamless look, you can smooth the sides of the cheesecake with a hot, wet knife. Any toppings or garnishes can be added at this point.

A Fresh Blueberry Sauce

A fresh blueberry sauce recipe for ice cream, pound cake, cheesecake or bread pudding.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:    Wash and crush blueberries; add sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mix well. In a small saucepan, bring blueberry mixture to a boil; boil 1 minute. Add vanilla. Chill.

Serve over cheesecake, or swirl over the plate and set cheesecake slice on top!

Psalms 20 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  King David leads many military battles in his lifetime, but he is equally familiar with moral battles we all face.  What I love about King David is that he recognizes early on that the battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47)  Psalm 20 is the outpouring of David’s heart to God.  I pray that as we encounter spiritual battles, we can remember and learn from David’s proclamations of faith as to whom rules the battleground!  Have a blessed day.

Psalms 20: 7-9

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

Read all of Psalm 20

Click here for a Proverbs daily dose!

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