Made popular in the Big Apple in the 1920s by Jewish delicatessens, this New York-style cheesecake recipe identified by its graham cracker crust and smooth cream cheese filling. Baking the cake in a water bath allows the rich filling to cook at an even, steady heat, giving the cheesecake its signature creamy quality. For a slightly fluffier and drier version (which may crack as it cools), bake the cake directly on the oven rack at 300°F (149°C) until the center is softly set, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.–Barbara Fairchild
LC Oh My God, This is the Best Cheesecake Ever! Note
Remember that episode of “Friends” in which Chandler and Rachel steal their neighbor’s mail-order cheesecake–twice? It was that good. Just how good? “It has a buttery, crumbly graham cracker crust with a very light yet rich cream cheese filling…” moans Rachel before being silenced by a need to reflect for a moment before diving in for more cheesecake. That’s precisely the way we feel about this cheesecake, which makes us want to stop everything, help ourselves to another generously portioned slice, and just moan in bliss. Suffice it to say, our search for the perfect cheesecake recipe ends here.
Special Equipment: 9-inch springform pan
New York-Style Cheesecake Recipe
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours | Serves 12
- For the crust
- 9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
- 5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- For the New York-style cheesecake filling
- Five 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- Make the crust
- 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
- 2. Grind the graham crackers to coarse crumbs in a food processor or with a rolling pin and a resealable plastic bag. Add the butter and sugar and process or stir until the crumb mixture is well blended and begins to stick together.
- 3. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom (but not the sides) of a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake the crust until golden and firm to touch, about 25 minutes. Cool the crust in the pan on the rack. Wrap the outside of the pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Keep the oven at 325°F (163°C).
- Make the New York-style cheesecake filling
- 4. While the crust bakes, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until blended.
- 5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until just blended after each addition. Then add the egg yolk, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Sift the flour over the filling and beat on low speed just until blended. Scrape the filling over the cooled crumb crust.
- 6. Place the foil-wrapped cake pan in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan on the oven rack, pulling the rack out slightly. Carefully add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath, rotating the pan once halfway through, until the center is softly set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven.
- 7. Let the cake pan stand in the water bath for 5 minutes. Remove the cake pan from the water bath and transfer it to a wire rack. Using a sharp, slender knife, work around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely at room temperature. Cover and—here’s the hard part—refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days prior to slicing.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
New York-Style Cheesecake Recipe © 2010 Barbara Fairchild. Photo © 2010 Con Poulos. All rights reserved.