Rich and Creamy Cheesecake
A classic! Rich and creamy, lemon-scented cheesecake in a graham cracker crust. Tip: For variations to this recipe, see below.
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon zest from 1 small lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Place foil over bottom disk of a 9-inch springform pan, tucking excess underneath disk; assemble pan. Pull up foil around pan sides. Brush interior of pan with butter. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs into pan, tilting it in all directions to coat evenly with crumbs. Cover exterior of pan with a sheet of heavy-duty foil and set in a large roasting pan. Bring a kettle of water to a boil for water bath.
- Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium speed until it is fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl after each addition. (If you don't scrape down bowl after the addition of each egg, any cream cheese sticking to the sides will make the batter lumpy.) Add zest and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Stir in cream and sour cream by hand.
- Pour batter into springform pan. Set roasting pan on oven rack, set springform pan in it, and pour in enough boiling water to come about halfway up the side of springform pan. Bake until perimeter of cake is set but center jiggles when pan is tapped, 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off heat and leave oven door ajar using a long-handled wooden spoon if necessary to hold it open for 1 hour.
- Remove springform pan from water bath and set on a wire rack; cool to room temperature.
- Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. Cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Makes 12 servings.
Light and Airy Cheesecake: Follow steps 1 and 2 but separate eggs and add egg yolks, rather than whole eggs, in step 2. Continue with step 2 as directed, stirring cream and sour cream into batter. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold whites into batter, pour batter into prepared pan and bake, reducing cooking time to 45 to 50 minutes. Continue as directed.
Dense and Firm Cheesecake: Follow steps 1 and 2 but preheat oven to 500°F (260°C). In step 3, omit water bath. Bake cake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200°F (95°C), open oven door and leave open until temperature reduces to 200°F (95°C). Close door and bake until perimeter is set, but center jiggles when pan is tapped, about 1 hour more. Turn off heat and leave oven door ajar, as directed. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature and then chill as directed.
Recipe is adapted from Pam Anderson's, The Perfect Recipe (2001, Thomas Allen & Son Ltd.) It's a "perfect" example of the recipes found in her cookbook, which includes more than 150 recipes in all, with dozens of step-by-step illustrations of techniques, comparisons of products and useful tips.