New York Cheesecake Overview
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Components Used: Classic Graham Cracker Crust
New York Cheesecake is an incredibly creamy and dense style of cheesecake that is somewhat different than other cheesecakes due to the way it is baked and because the recipe includes sour cream in the mixture.
Perfect Cheesecake Without a Water Bath
One of my favorite things about a New York style cheesecake is that it is baked without a water bath, unlike many other cheesecakes. A water bath can be frustrating because it can leak into the pan and cause a messy cheesecake.
New York cheesecake is started in a very hot oven for a short period of time and then finished at a low temperature. This method forms a skin on the top of the cheesecake, setting the top in place which keeps the filling dense and prevents cracking on top even without the water bath!
How to Make New York Cheesecake
Before you get started making your cheesecake, you need to make sure that your butter, sour cream, and eggs are at room temperature. Let them sit out for at least an hour before getting started. This is extremely important for the creamiest and best New York style cheesecake.
Step 1: Make the Crust
Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and the sugar until well combined, then press them into the bottom of the spring form pan and about 1/2″ up the sides. Bake the crust until it is set and slightly toasted.
Step 2: Prepare the Filling
Next you want to cream together the softened cream cheese with sugar and flour. The flour is a unique ingredient that isn’t in other styles of cheesecakes and it gives the cake a little more structure.
Next you are going to mix in the eggs one at a time until they are all incorporated. The eggs will bind our cheesecake together and create a silky smooth texture.
And last, you are going to mix in the sour cream, the lemon zest, and the vanilla. The sour cream is going to add a bit of tang to the cheesecake along with the lemon zest. The zest is technically optional, but I think it adds the perfect flavor. It won’t taste like a lemon cheesecake.
Step 3: Bake the Cheesecake
Pour the cheesecake into your pan (you don’t need to wait for the crust to cool) and place it on a sheet pan. The batter is going to come almost all the way to the top of your pan.
You’re going to start the cheesecake at a really high temperature in the oven for a few minutes and then you’re going to turn the temperature down and let it finish cooking. This high temperature will set the top of the cheesecake and the low temperature will slowly cook it so it stays creamy and the top doesn’t crack.
Step 4: Cool the Cheesecake
Perhaps the most difficult part of making this cheesecake is waiting for it to cool! After the baking time is over, you are going to let it cool in the oven with the door shut for about an hour. This will ensure the cheesecake doesn’t cool too quickly, further preventing it from cracking.
Then the cheesecake needs to chill in the refrigerator for, at the very least, for 6 hours and preferably over night before taking it out of the pan and slicing it. Allowing it to completely chill is going to give your cheesecake the best flavor and texture!
Step 5: Serve!
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
- It is especially important that your ingredients be at room temperature before making the filling for this cheesecake. This will ensure that the filling is extremely creamy, making the best cheesecake.
- Be sure to use the paddle attachment, not the whisk attachment, when mixing the cheesecake filling. Cream cheese can start to separate if it is not beaten properly.
- This filling will fill up a 9″ (23 cm) spring form pan right up to the top, making a very tall and rich cheesecake. The process of starting it in a hot oven will ensure it will not overflow.
- Cheesecake is best made the day before serving due to the long baking and chilling time. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours at the very least before slicing so the filling will be truly set.
- This classic plain cheesecake with a simple graham cracker crust is truly amazing eaten on its own, or use it as a canvas for fresh berries or top with a chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, or caramel sauce!
- If you prefer a sturdier crust, you can use the shortbread crust recipe in place of the graham cracker crust.
- Cream Cheese is the key ingredient in the filling and is also the main structure and flavor of the cheesecake. Full fat cream cheese is the best option for the creamiest cheesecake with the best flavor.
- Sugar sweetens the cheesecake filling.
- Flour is used in a small quantity to help stabilize the filling and keep it dense.
- Eggs are the binding ingredient and help create a silky smooth texture.
- Sour Cream adds a slightly tangy flavor and contributes to the creaminess of the filling.
- Vanilla and Lemon Zest only serve to flavor the cheesecake. These two ingredients create the iconic classic cheesecake flavor.
For the Crust
- 12 sheets (6.64 oz, 186 gr) original graham crackers (or another type of crunchy cookie such as a digestive biscuit or biscoff cookie)
- 1/4 cup (1.75 oz, 49 gr) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112 gr) unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
- 4- 8 oz packages (2 lbs, 0.9 kg) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (10.5, 294 gr) granulated sugar
- 3 TBSP (0.8 oz, 22 gr) all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup (8.5 oz, 238 gr) sour cream, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
Note: It is extremely important that your oven is truly heated to 475 F before baking the cheesecake. An oven thermometer can help determine if your oven is heating hot enough. It usually takes at least 20 (sometimes longer) full minutes for ovens to reach a temperature this high. It is also essential that you do not open the oven door during the baking process. Letting out the heat can cause the cheesecake to not set.
- Prep: 1 1/2 hours before preparing the cheesecake, set out the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream to come to room temperature. It is extremely important for a creamy cheesecake that your ingredients are not cold. You will need a 9" (23 cm) spring form pan for this recipe. Right before starting the crust, preheat your oven to 375 F (190 C) and position your oven rack in the center position. (Do not use the convection setting if you oven has it for this recipe)
- Prepare the Crust: Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until you have cookie crumbs. Alternatively, you can put them in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to roll back and forth over them until they are crumbs. Place the cookie crumbs in a medium bowl and mix with the sugar and melted butter. Firmly press the crust into the bottom and about 1" (2.5 cm) up the side of a 9" (23 cm) spring form pan.
- Bake & Cool Crust: Bake the crust at 375 F (190 C) for 8 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
- Cream the Sugar & Cream Cheese: Increase the oven temperature to 475 F (246 C)- it needs to be preheating for at least 20 minutes before the cheesecake goes in so that it truly is hot enough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and flour and beat on medium speed for 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low speed.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time while the mixer is running on low speed. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the mixture is evenly combined.
- Bake: Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. It will completely fill the spring form pan. Place on the center rack in a 475 F (246 C) oven for 8 minutes. Leave the door closed and reduce the oven temperature to 200 F (93 C) for 1 hour. Turn the oven off (again, do not open the oven door!) and leave the cheesecake in the off oven for 1 more hour.
- Cool: Let the cheesecake cool and then refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours, before removing the sides of the pan and slicing.
- Store: Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To store the cheesecake in the freezer, freeze it uncovered until solid, then wrap it well in plastic wrap and/or foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*Recipe adapted from The Baker's Manuel New York Style Cheesecake
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 507