Cheesecake takes time. Cheesecake takes patience. Cheesecake is not for the faint of heart. Cheesecake is delicious. A favorite of my husband’s, this classic dessert takes time, but its creamy texture and rich taste make it so decadent, and a perfect Valentine’s treat. A fair warning though—give yourself time to make this recipe. I would recommend making it one day in advance.
6 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2½ pounds cream cheese, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
- FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process cracker pieces and sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add flour and salt and pulse to combine, 2 pulses. Add 6 tablespoons melted butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses. Brush bottom of 9-inch springform pan with ½ Tablespoon melted butter. Using your hands, press crumb mixture evenly into pan bottom. Using flat bottom of measuring cup or ramekin, firmly pack crust into the pan. Bake on lower-middle rack until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees.
- FOR THE FILLING: Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar, and salt at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in remaining ¾ cup sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bowl well; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl and beater. Add whole eggs, two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds after each addition. Pour filling through a fine-mesh strainer set in large bowl, pressing against strainer with rubber spatula or back of a ladle to help filling pass through the strainer.
- Brush sides of springform pan with remaining ½ Tablespoon melted butter. Pour filling into crust and set aside for 10 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the top. Gently draw tines of a fork across the surface of the cake to pop air bubbles that have risen to surface.
- When oven thermometer reads 200 degrees, bake cheesecake on the lower rack for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove cake from oven and use a toothpick to pierce any bubbles that have risen to surface. Return to oven and continue to bake until center registers 165 degrees, 2¼ to 2¾ hours longer. Remove cake from oven and increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.
- When the oven is at 500 degrees, bake cheesecake on upper rack until the top is evenly browned, 4 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes; run a paring knife between cheesecake and side of springform pan. Let cheesecake cool until barely warm, 2½ to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and firmly set, at least 6 hours. (Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.)
- To unmold cheesecake, remove sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cheesecake onto a serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. To slice, dip a sharp knife into very hot water and wipe dry between cuts. Serve.
Original recipe courtesy of Cooks Illustrated.