ISO Fool-Proof, Classic NY-Style Cheesecake recipe
I've never made one but think I will give it a try this year for dessert on Christmas Day. To be clear, not interested in any variant flavors or toppings. Just a good, not-too-hard, version of a classic, cream-cheese based NY style cheesecake. Also, any tips that you can share as to making it are appreciated. Thanks all.
I've been using the Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Smith) recipe for close to 30 years and it always comes out perfectly. Even my DH (not a cook or baker) has made it for office potlucks. It always gets raves. It's important to use top-notch ingredients (don't try to make it low fat!) and do not leave out the butter at the end. I don't have a blender anymore and have done it in my food processor with fine results.
Edited to add the link:
I've been making this classic cheesecake for our New Year's Day open house for 20+ years. It never fails.
FOR THE CRUST
• 18 pieces zwieback, crushed fine (about 11/2 cups) or graham cracker crumbs
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, and softened
• 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
FOR THE FILLING
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• A 1-inch length of vanilla bean, minced
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 1 cup sour cream
MAKE THE CRUST:
• In a bowl stir together the zwieback or graham crackers, the butter, and the sugar until the mixture is combined well and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
MAKE THE FILLING:
• In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the sugar and the cream cheese until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the flour, a pinch of salt, the vanilla bean, and the egg yolks, beaten lightly, and combine the mixture well. Stir in the sour cream. In a bowl beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks and fold them into the cream cheese mixture gently but thoroughly.
• Pour the filling into the prepared pan and run a rubber spatula through the filling in a circle about 1 inch in from the rim to help the cake rise evenly. Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350° F. oven for 1 hour, turn off the oven, and let the cake stand in the oven for 30 minutes. (The cake will be puffed but will sink as it cools.) Let the cake cool completely, or until it is set, in the pan on a rack. (For a slightly firmer consistency, let the cake cool completely and chill it, covered, overnight.)
I use Magic Cake Strips around the perimeter of the pan, which helps prevent cracking
I made that one recently, for the first time. The initial baking at 550 can be tricky (many people think it's a typo in the recipe - it's not) - I literally sat on the floor in front of my oven watching the browning to be sure it didn't burn. It didn't, but during the baking at the lower temp, it got as brown as it could possibly get without being black. It had just the slightest burned flavor. I don't know if I'd make that recipe again -- or if I did, I'd lower the oven temp for that initial bake.
i just got the cutest mental picture of a little kid sitting in front of the oven peering in through the glass window to watch the cake baking inside ;)
as for the burning issue, have you checked your oven temp lately to be sure it's accurate? and do you by chance have an electric oven with a top-mounted heating element/coil?
Ha. Well I'm not a little kid, but there I was sitting on the floor cross-legged peeking through the oven door. My dog was sitting there w/ me, probably wondering what in the heck I was doing!
I haven't checked my oven temp; however, I don't have problems w/ things over-cooking or burning and, given the many comments posted on that recipe where people had the same experience as me, I think it's a recipe issue more than an oven issue. My oven is electric w/ a flat top.
I've made this at least a half-dozen times (without the sauce/topping) - it's perfect.
Their advice to minimally beat the mixture after the addition of the eggs is aces - nary a crack to be seen. Make it a day ahead, it really needs a good long chill before eating.