I’m not going to argue that cheesecake is an acceptable health food. What I am going to argue is that cheesecake is an acceptable food for a special occasion. For instance, meeting your boyfriend’s family for the first time. That’s the kind of occasion that calls for making a good impression, because you only get to make a first impression once.
The cheesecake was a pretty big hit from what I could tell. I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, and as is standard for any recipe of hers I follow, it didn’t disappoint. I used sour cream where she says you can use either sour or heavy cream, or a combination of the two. Like she states in her notes, it’s important to blend this until there are absolutely no lumps in the batter, because the lumps won’t bake out. It’s also important to give yourself plenty of time for this recipe. It’s in the oven for over two hours and needs to chill for at least four hours.
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake
for the crust:
1 3/4 C. graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbs. sugar
pinch of salt
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
for the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 C. sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
To make the crust, butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Note: if you use a pan with shorter sides, you will have batter left over.
Put the pan on a baking sheet.
Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl.
Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist.
Pour the mixture into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. It doesn’t have to be precise, but strive to have it even.
Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and place the springform on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Put a kettle of water on to boil.
Working in a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and creamy, about 4 minutes.
With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes until the cream cheese is light.
Beat in the vanilla.
Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in a roaster pan large enough to fit the springform, with space all around it.
Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan.
The batter will reach the brim of the pan. If you have leftover batter, pour it into ramekins.
Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned, possibly cracked, and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan.
Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, in the water bath, for an hour.
After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil.
Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
When the cake has cooled, cover the top lightly, and put into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Makes 16 servings.
Source: Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours