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Cheesecake

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One 9-inch (23cm) cake, about 12 servings.

Adapted from My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth ReichlThe base of this cheesecake is a New York-style cheesecake, which means it’s dense and rich, but has the addition of a sour cream topping. Other types of cheesecakes include those made with ricotta cheese, which often called Italian-style cheesecake. I’ve linked to a recipe for one like that below. But for most of us, this is what we think of when the word “cheesecake” comes up.You’ll notice that this cheesecake bakes at a low temperature and isn’t cooked in a water bath, as other cheesecakes sometimes are. My springform pan didn’t leak but if you’re concerned, you can bake the cheesecake by setting the cake pan on a foil-line baking sheet in case you think your pan might leak.Make sure the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature, which will help them combine easily. If you live outside the U.S., you can check my post, American Baking Ingredients in Paris for substitutions for certain ingredients, which may be helpful even if you live outside of France. As mentioned in the post, you can swap out other cookies for the chocolate wafers, such as store-bought or homemade gingersnaps.

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Cookie Crust
  • 6 ounces (170g) chocolate wafer cookies
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces, 115g) melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • pinch of salt



Cheesecake Filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • Finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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Sour Cream Topping
  • 2 cups (1 pint, 450g) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Lightly butter the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan.



2. Crumble and crush the chocolate wafers in a food processor or in a sturdy freezer bag with a rolling pin. You should have 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. Mix in the melted butter, 1/4 cup of sugar and pinch of salt. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and partially up the sides of the springform pan with your hands as evenly as possible. I start with my hands then use a straight-sided glass to press the corners in so they’re not too thick, and help the edges climb up the sides of the pan. It may not look perfect, but don’t worry. Put the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.


3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).


4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and place on a wire rack. Reduce the oven heat to 300ºF (150ºC).

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5. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and lemon zest for about thirty seconds, until combined. With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the eggs one at a time stopping the mixer and scraping the beater and sides of the bowl to incorporate the eggs, mixing until smooth and free of lumps. Add the vanilla. If necessary, grab a sturdy whisk and give the batter a few beats to smooth any stubborn lumps out by hand.



6. Scrape the cheesecake filling into the baked crust and bake until a few inches from the edges are cooked but about 4-inches (10cm) in the center is still jiggly, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

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7. While the cheesecake is cooling, mix together the sour cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar and vanilla until smooth. Working with a little bit of delicacy, spoon the sour cream in a few mounds over the top of the cheesecake, being careful because that the filling underneath is still not fully set and you don’t want to disturb it. Use a spatula to very gently spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake, making every attempt not to disturb the cheesecake underneath. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the sour cream glaze is just set.



8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cool completely in the pan, then chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight before serving.

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Serving and storage
: I like cheesecake plain, served cold or close to room temperature but still cool. Cheesecake can be kept 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to two months.



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Cake Magazine: Cheesecake
Cheesecake
Adding that cookbook to your list
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