Mr. Fantasy (mrfantasy) wrote,
Mr. Fantasy

And now, recipes with sentimentality

Making cheesecake always reminds me of my mother. I'm pretty sure she just got the recipe from some magazine, but over time she made it hers. It's the best cheesecake in the world, and still the standard by which I judge all other New York cheesecakes. You see, we're going to a Belmont Stakes dinner party hosted by someone from Funny Cide's hometown, and everything is New York themed (wine, beer, pizza, etc.) New York Cheesecake is an obvious choice.

This is brilliant because of its deceptive simplicity. There's the lemon zest in the cake, the cinnamon in the crust, and the vanilla in the topping. The three flavors combine and interact, over the dairy base and the graham crust. Although people in my family would do it, I believe it blasphemy to cover this in cherries, strawberries, blueberries, or anything else. The beauty of the cheesecake is destroyed by such interlopers.

3 packages cream cheese, room temperature (Philadelphia brand is traditional, but I'm now using Organic Valley with good results. Don't skimp on your cream cheese. Also, use the blocks, not the whipped stuff, you won't get enough.)
5 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2t grated lemon zest.

Combine the ingredients and mix for 10 minutes (minimum. Our KitchenAid gets this about right, with a hand mixer you want a completly uniform mixture that's gotten some air in it. I once did it by hand with a whisk. Ow.)


1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (1 package inside a box of graham crackers is about right)
1T sugar
2T butter, melted
1/2 t cinnamon

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and then pour into a 9 inch springform pan. Work the crumbs into a crust, working partially up the sides of the pan. I like making sure the crust is a little rounded going up the side, it makes a great tactile experience when you eat.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pan, and bake in a 350 degree oven until just set, about 50 minutes (although today it was about an hour due to the humidity, I suppose.

While you're baking it, get 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, 2T of sugar, and 1t of vanilla extract, and mix together. When cheesecake is set, take out of oven and cover the top with the sour cream mixture, and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Chill before serving.

Now, if you're gonna make a flavored cheesecake, you probably won't do the lemon zest or the sour cream thing, but the base is pretty simple and can be modified how you like.

I suggest cutting it into 12 or 16 pieces, 'cause it's so rich.

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