New York Style Cheesecake
The hard thing about recipes sometimes is that you don’t know exactly how much it will make. With cookies it’s never a big deal and entirely depends on the size of your scoop. But for cheesecakes when the ingredients are a bit expensive, it’s a slightly different story.
I had an order for a cheesecake for my neighbor. My memory can be super bad so not remembering which recipe I liked for cheesecake I went with my oldie but trusty Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart. I’ve only been steered the wrong way once with it… soon to be twice though.
I should have known looking at the ingredients- seven 8 ounce packages of cream cheese?! … I should have halved it, but… I wanted to make sure I had enough especially since it was for an order.
The recipe yielded enough for a 9″ cheesecake and there was a TON left over, enough for me to make 24 individual sized cupcakes… the original yield: one 10″ cheesecake. hmm… My book is now covered with notes and things crossed out. But lucky for my coworkers, they got a valentine’s day surprise. 😀
Half I topped with sprinkles. The other had hearts made from a raspberry coulis. For the crust, I ended up making three kinds, a chocolate cookie crust for the 9″ cake, a traditional graham cracker crust for 1 dozen mini cheesecakes, and a vanilla cookie crust for the other dozen. My favorite (well I think it was, I didn’t get to try the chocolate) was the vanilla cookie crust. The cheesecake infuses it with flavor and its not crumbly but instead this great complement to the custard.
The cheesecake itself- Amazing. Creamy and just plain delicious. I loved the cupcake size since they are perfect for one person. I’m setting this one aside as my go-to for a plain cheesecake, just in a reduced amount.
To make the hearts put round drops of the coulis on the surface then run a toothpick through it, top to bottom. (See upper right in the above pictures for an example of the dots). I used a squeeze bottle, but you could use a pastry bag or Ziploc bag to make the dots.
A lot of people are afraid of making cheesecakes- I definitely raise my hand to this statement… but I think I’ve got the hang of it now. Over the holidays I made many a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving orders and nailed down the steps to what has helped me produce the perfect cheesecake. One cheesecake in particular I was so nervous about turning out that I woke up at 2am after allowing it to cool on the counter top for several hours before putting it in the fridge. The next morning was like Christmas- no Grand Canyons!! I promptly posted the achievement to Facebook while grinning like a crazy person.
My Cheesecake Tips and Tricks:
– When you put the cheesecake in the oven, put a dish filled with boiling water on the rack below it. This creates steam in the oven and helps prevent cracks. I used a glass pie dish that I placed in the oven while it was preheating then filled it with water I’d previously boiled in a teapot right after I put in the cheesecake. It’s a little easier than carrying a dish filled with hot water around the kitchen.
– Once done baking, let the cheesecake cool- either in the oven with the door cracked or on the counter on a cooling rack.
– After about 10-15 minutes, run a sharp paring knife around the edges. This releases them to keep the cheesecake from pulling and cracking when it retracts while it’s cooling.
– Let cool completely at room temperature before placing in the fridge. This might take 2 hours or more.
– I sometimes don’t cover the top of the springform pan with plastic wrap or foil once it’s in the fridge because I don’t want condensation forming and then dripping on the top of the cake. I’ll wait until I know it’s cool for sure- an hour or so and then wrap it up.
I’ve had absolutely no cracks since taking these steps (hopefully I didn’t jinx it). Cheesecakes can be finicky! But hopefully this takes some of the guesswork out of it- because man are they delicious!!
Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂
New York Style Cheesecake
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.
Notes: This recipe makes one 9″ cheesecake, or 24 individual sized cheesecakes made in a paper lined cupcake tin. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before starting the recipe. This can take up to 1-2 hours with the packages sitting at room temperature. Follow above instructions when cooking the cheesecake.
For the cheesecake:
3.5 eight ounce packages of cream cheese (full fat), at room temperature
1 1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream (full fat), room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the vanilla cookie crust:
2 stick of butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
For the raspberry coulis:
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter a 9″ springform pan or line 24 cupcake tins.
Make the crust: Cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla. Then the flour and pinch of salt. Press in as thin a layer as possible in the bottom of the springform pan. The easiest way to do this is with wet fingers so the dough doesn’t stick to them. For the cupcakes, make a ball and then press it in to the bottom.
Bake crust 15-18 minutes at 350 or until golden. Let cool.
For the cheesecake, in the bowl of an electric mixer paddle the cream cheese until light and creamy with no visible lumps. If you have a torch (like what you would use for creme brulee you can torch the side of the mixing bowl just a bit while it’s beating to warm up the cream cheese and help smooth it faster). In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and flour. Gradually beat into the cream cheese.
Add the sour cream and vanilla, and then the eggs. Beat until just combined scraping down the bowl frequently.
Pour into the prepared springform pan or fill cupcake tins 3/4 full using a cookie scoop, pouring it from the bowl, or spooning it.
If you are making the raspberry coulis, place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring frequently until the raspberries start to break down, and the mixture thickens slightly. Puree and strain for a smooth texture. Make a marbled tip effect on the top, or dots to make hearts, or just a big dab will do. Then you’re ready to bake!
For the cupcake sized cheesecake, reduce the temperature of the oven to 325 degrees. If you can, place the tin on a jelly roll pan, put in the oven and pour boiling water into the pan so it comes up the edges of the cupcake tin. Bake until the sides are set, about 20 minutes rotating halfway through.
For the 9″ cheesecake, follow the above cheesecake tips. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325 and bake an additional 30 minutes or so, until the sides are set but the middle is slightly wobbly.
Let cool completely before refrigerating.