Last week I made two cheesecakes... using two completely different recipes. This one was my favorite :) And I'll make it again... and again... and again. It was that good!
One of the cheesecakes I made was for the Daring Bakers April Challenge and it was made without a crust and using a regular pan. The other cheesecake was for a friend's birthday... made the "traditional" way with a crust and using a springform pan. Of the two recipes, I think this one is my hands-down winner. I loved it... everyone who tasted it loved it... and there was tons-o-praise just heaped upon me :) ...and praise feels good! LOL!
I'd never used a springform pan ... or attempted to make a real cheesecake, crust and all, before this. But the recipe is rather fool-proof - I mean, hey, if I can do it, you can do it!!
There are more kinds of cheesecake than probably most people realize (check out this link if you're so inclined to find out more). I have always found New York Style cheesecake to be more dry, less creamy, than other kinds of cheesecake... and that's the way I like it. I also discovered that homemade cheesecake doesn't have to be full of cracks. Who knew!!!?!?! Now I'll admit, the cracking doesn't make one bit of difference in the taste of the final product but care should be taken to avoid cracking since it does detract from the aesthetic presentation (a fancy way of sayin that a cheesecake with cracks all in it just doesn't look as good as one without... that's all. LOL!).
I adapted this recipe from one I found here. It got rave reviews and now I know why. If you've been intimidated by the thought of making cheesecake, well, all I can say is don't be. No need to test the waters with wanna-be recipes... jump in with both feet with this sure fired winner!
New York Style Cheesecake
adapted from Chantal's New York Cheesecake
12 cinnamon graham crackers (crushed)
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
All non-dry ingredients should be at room temperature. This is important for a smooth texture.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees
Using Crisco, generously grease a 9 inch springform pan.
Crush the cinnamon graham crackers either by hand or in a food processor until they are fine crumbs... then combine with melted butter and by hand press into the bottom of your springform pan.
In a large bowl, cream the sugar and cream cheese until smooth... then add in the milk... then add the the eggs one at a time combining well after each. Add in the sour cream, vanilla and flour and beat until smooth.
Pour on top of the prepared crust in the springform pan.
Place the filled springform pan inside a roasting pan... then fill with boiling water to a level that is approximately 1/4-1/2way up the springform pan. Carefully place the roasting pan with the springform pan and water into the pre-heated oven and bake for about an hour or until just barely set. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside with the door closed for 3-5 hours until the oven is cool. Do not open the oven during this time. Keeping the cheesecake in the oven during the cooling is what prevents it from cracking. Once the oven is cool, remove the cheesecake and refrigerate until ready to serve.