Monday, September 29, 2014

NY Cheesecake with Strawberries

NY Cheesecake with Strawberries
So....I don't like cheesecake. (I knooow, I'm crazy.)

But even I can tell that is is one DANGED good cheesecake.
NY Cheesecake with Strawberries
New York, New of the things I miss most about you is your food. Mostly the pizza. Ah...the pizza. But I also know that their cheesecake is pretty danged awesome (Michael certainly loved it.), so when Michael's birthday snuck up on me this year, I knew the perfect treat would be a NY style cheesecake---with strawberries...because he loves 'em.
NY Cheesecake with Strawberries
Apparently 1 whole cheesecake is a bit too much for my boy to polish off on his own, though, so we shared some pieces with my mom and his family as well. And from all these sources, the reviews came in: this is a DANGED good cheesecake. All you have to do is look at it to see the amazing texture (and, boy, does it smell great), and I've been told it tastes silky and tangy, yet sweet.

And making it is surprisingly easy (time consuming, but easy)--I didn't even need to do a water bath and it didn't crack (mind you, I've made this once. Perhaps it will crack for you--I do not know for sure.) This was my first full-sized cheesecake and it went so smoothly. And you get a total sense of accomplishment saying to yourself, "I just made an amazing cheesecake. GO ME!"

And soon you'll make this and I can say, "GO YOU!"

NY Cheesecake with Strawberries

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

NY Cheesecake with Strawberries
Notes-To help remove cake from sprinform pan (I did not need to use this trick, but it may help you if you have difficulty): Wrap a hot kitchen towel around the outside of the pan and hold for 1 minute. Remove the sides of the pan, then slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter-or if you'd like you can leave the metal bottom under the cheesecake and place that on a serving plate.
-Let cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, for best results
  • 8 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 2-5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (if using homemade graham crackers use 2 tbsp. butter)
  • 40 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces-at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • Optional-1 cup strawberries, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4" slices (about 3 cups sliced strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup strawberry jam
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Place oven rack in the lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by spraying the bottom with non-stick cooking spray or greasing with butter.
  • Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs (I used a food processor, you can also do this by hand/with a rolling pin, etc.)
  • In a bowl, or in the food processor, combine the crumbs and melted butter until evenly moistened.
  • Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared springform pan.
  • Bake until the crust begins to brown around the edges and smell toasted, about 13 minutes.
  • Put pan on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Increase oven temperature to 500F degrees.
  • Using a mixer (handheld or stand) beat the softened cream cheese on medium-low speed for 1 minute. 
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the salt and 3/4 cup sugar, beat on medium-low speed for 1 more minute. 
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract-beat on low speed for 1 minute.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add egg yolks, beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Add the eggs, 2 at a time, beating for about 20 seconds between additions and scraping the bowl in between.
  • If using, fold chopped strawberries into the filling.
  • Taking care to not touch the crust, brush the sides of the inside of the springform pan with melted butter.
  • Pour the filling into the pan, lightly rap the pan against the counter top (to try to let it settle and remove air bubbles), and bake 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200F degrees (DO NOT open the oven door at this point) and bake approximately 1 and 1/2 more hours--or until the center of the cheesecake reads 150F degrees on an instant read thermometer, and the top is golden brown.
  • Place pan on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Then, run a paring knife around the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Cool until barely warm (approx. 3 hours). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cheesecake can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
  • In a large bowl, toss together sliced strawberries and sugar. Sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Place jam in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the jam has darkened and is no longer bubbly. 
  • Stir in lemon juice and then pour over the strawberries, stirring to combine. 
  • Cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours. Best on the day made but can be stored for the same amount of time as the cheesecake.)
  • When ready to serve the cheesecake, scoop some of the strawberry topping on top.
NY Cheesecake with Strawberries
That texture, though. Beautiful!
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