New York Cheesecake Is Prized for Its Elegant Simplicity
While cheesecake can trace its origins back to Greek and Roman times, New Yorkers have been claiming this luscious concoction as their own since the Roaring Twenties. Authentic New York cheesecake is as simple as it gets; a graham cracker crust filled with a creamy mixture of cream cheese, eggs, sugar and sour cream. New York cheesecake shouldn't be too sweet, nor so dense it bends your fork. And save the toppings for another day. The slight tartness of the filling and sweet crunch of the crust deserve to stand on their own.
Total Time: 12 hours | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 8 to 10
- Nonstick cooking spray or butter
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
Graham Cracker Crust
Heat your oven to 350F.
Oil a 9-inch springform pan with a thin film of butter. Nonstick cooking spray also works, but butter adds a bit of flavor. Set the oiled pan on two sheets of aluminum foil. Fold the edges of the foil up around the pan so that it creates a tight seal around the base.
Stir about 2 cups of crushed graham crumbs together with 4 tablespoons or so of sugar and 5 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter. Mix all ingredients together well with a fork or your fingers. Press the graham cracker mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don't be too fussy; it doesn't have to be perfect. Set the crumb-filled pan in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Place your crumb-filled springform pan on a baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake it for 10 minutes. Move the crust to a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.
Cream Cheese Filling
Turn your oven down to 325F.
Beat 2 pounds of room-temperature cream cheese together with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 2 teaspoons each of vanilla extract and lemon juice. Add 4 eggs, one at a time. Beat each egg for about a minute to thoroughly aerate your filling. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of sour cream.
Place your crumb-filled springform pan into a shallow roasting pan. Pour the cream cheese filling on top of the graham cracker crust, filling the pan right to the edge. Add enough piping hot water to the roasting pan to come about halfway up the outsides of the springform pan.
Bake for 90 minutes, and then turn the oven off and prop the door open. Let the cheesecake rest for 1 hour.
Remove the springform pan from the roasting pan and set it on a cooling rack. Once your New York cheesecake has come to room temperature, cover it with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate it overnight.
Use full-fat cream cheese and full-fat, all-natural sour cream for the richest flavor and smoothest texture.