Over the next few days I will be sharing some amazing feats I accomplished this past holiday season. I am not really known as a baker in my family, I am more of the “cook” that can turn anything into something fantastic with just a few ingredients, but I was asked to bring desserts for both Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners and decided to try things I had never tried before. I came out of my baking shell a bit and was super stoked at how well everything came out. So tomorrow I will have something else for you, but today I am going to share my new favorite recipe for New York Style Cheesecake. You will die, it’s that beautiful and creamy.
I wish I could take all the credit for this, but it’s Martha Stewart’s recipe and I have been dying to try it every since I watched her make it months ago on Martha Bakes on PBS. I was in total awe of the beauty of this dessert, and how easy it seemed to make.
We have a tradition on Christmas Eve that we eat Rice Pudding with a blanched almond in one of the bowls, and whoever finds the almond wins good luck, health, wealth, etc etc for the new year. And as cute and charming as that tradition is, I have just never warmed to the idea of rice pudding. Some people LOVE it and I am just not one of those people. Maybe it’s the consistency or texture, I have no idea, but I know I am not the only one who isn’t a huge fan of the dish, so I opted to make something totally different as another option.
This cheesecake is to die for. Seriously. It’s super rich, and creamy and totally decadent which is why one teeny tiny slice is MORE than enough, and an entire cheesecake can feed 20 people no problem. I’ve also topped this cheesecake with hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts and a cherries and made Hot Fudge Cheesecake – also an amazing hit. This recipe is just for the basic no crack top, baked classic cheesecake. Do with it what you will, or serve it plain. I served this one with a cranberry orange compote. The tartness of the compote was an excellent pairing for the rich and creaminess of the cheesecake. The recipe for that is listed below as well.
New York Style Cheesecake (with no cracks)
FOR THE CRUST
- 12 graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted; plus more, room temperature, for pan
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of coarse salt
FOR THE CAKE
- 3 1/2 pounds (seven 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 10-inch spring form pan. Wrap exterior of pan (including base) in a double layer of foil. This will create a watertight seal around the pan for the water bath.
Using a food processor, pulse graham crackers until fine. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Transfer mixture to the pan and pat into an even layer. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is firm to the touch and deeply golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let pan cook completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not over mix.
Pour cream cheese filling into the prepared pan. Set pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Pour very hot to boiling water into the roasting pan, until about halfway up the sides of the spring form pan.
Bake 45 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue baking until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; leave cake in oven with the door slightly ajar, about 1 hour. Let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around the edge of the cake.
I cannot even begin to express the joy I felt when I pulled this baby out of the spring form pan and saw how beautiful my first cheesecake ever came out! I almost cried guys, not gonna lie.
I cooked my cheesecake the night before and let it sit in the fridge all night, took it over to my mom’s and let it sit in the fridge until about 30 minutes before we ate it. I HIGHLY recommend letting it sit in the fridge to cool and set completely. I can’t explain it, but it just tastes better.
We had another family get together a week later and I was asked to make ANOTHER CHEESECAKE (yes! It’s THAT good!) and I made it that morning because I wasn’t given enough heads up for time… the flavor was these, but the cheesecake was much fluffier than dense this time, and everyone agreed the fully chilled one that sat in the fridge overnight was better. But there were no complaints the next morning with cheesecake leftovers once it had time to set completely. Go figure.
I left the leftovers at my mom’s house for her and her guests because I did not need them here… I mean, come on, the cake has SEVEN bricks of cream cheese in it!
You wanna know how big of a hit this cake was? My sister’s boyfriend, who doesn’t even care for cheesecake said it was amazing. He might have just been being nice, but I swear I saw him go back for another bite.
For something tart and festive try this recipe as a topping to complement the richness of this cake.
Cranberry Orange Compote
- 1 bag fresh cranberries
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
Pour the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, water and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has completely dissolved. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 1 tsp of water until well combined. Add to cranberry sauce mix and stir to incorporate. The mixture with thicken and the cranberries will begin to “pop”. Transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to serve.
What are your favorite desserts for the holidays and special occasions?