Baked Cheesecake - Original NY Style
Classic New York Cheesecake is a heavenly cloud of silky perfection. Rich, creamy, and ethereally light, this tall and proud cheesecake is crowned with stunning browned edges and sits atop a buttery, crunchy shortbread crust.
- For the crust:
- 1½ cups shortbread cookie crumbs, finely ground
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- For the filling:
- 2 ½ pounds full fat Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature (40oz)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon Vintage Salts Sea salt
- ⅓ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- Step 1 For the crust: Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Step 2 Mix the cookie crumbs and the melted butter until well combined and moistened.
- Step 3 Press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Using a flat bottomed measuring cup, press the crust firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan,
- Step 4 Bake on a lower-middle rack until golden brown around the edges and fragrant, about 13 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Step 5 For the filling: Make sure the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs are at room temperature for a silky smooth texture.
- Step 6 Increase the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Step 7 Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, salt, and one half of the sugar on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, until combined.
- Step 8 Beat in remaining sugar and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the paddle and the bowl well.
- Step 9 Add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the paddle and the bowl well.
- Step 10 Add egg yolks and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the paddle and the bowl well.
- Step 11 Add whole eggs, two at a time, and beat for about 30 seconds after each addition, scraping the paddle and the bowl after each addition.
- Step 12 Strain filling in a wire mesh strainer set over a bowl.
- Step 13 Tap bowl on the counter several times so that any large air bubbles come up.
- Step 14 Brush the sides of the spring form pan with butter and place on a baking sheet.
- Step 15 Pour the filling into the pan and set aside for 10 minutes, allowing any air bubbles to rise to the top. Pop any un-popped bubbles with a fork.
- Step 16 Bake in a 500 degree F oven, checking with an oven thermometer, for 10 minutes.
- Step 17 Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees F and continue to bake until the center of the cheesecake registers 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1½ hours.
- Step 18 Keep an eye on the oven thermometer to be sure the temperature is dropping to 200 degrees F. If it doesn’t drop, crack the oven door open until the 200 degrees is reached.
- Step 19 Place the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the edges of the pan. Allow to cool to room temperature, 2½-3 hours.
- Step 20 Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and firmly set, at least 6 hours.
- Step 21 To serve: Gently un-mold cheesecake and remove the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and pan bottom. Gently slide cheesecake onto a serving platter. If the bottom of your pan has a small lip around it, it may be easier to leave the pan bottom under the cheesecake and place it on the serving plate.
A Special Note:
There are two different methods for baking a Classic New York Cheesecake. I prefer the more traditional, some consider more risky, however, I believe yields the best results.
The cheesecake initially bakes for 10 minutes in a 500 degree F oven. That is what gives it the gorgeous brown, puffy edges and golden top. Then the oven temperature is reduced to 200 degrees to finish baking for about an hour and a half. This slow bake at a low temperature gives the cheesecake a soft, silky texture and does away with the need for using a water bath, the second method.
The reason this method is risky is that different ovens reduce their temperature from 500 degrees to 200 degrees at different rates. So, my solution is simple, use a thermometer and open the oven door and when it gets to 225 degrees close the door. Staying hot too long can result in baking too quickly in a too hot oven, which can lead to cracks.
How to tell when it is done? The most foolproof way of testing the cheesecake for doneness is by taking its temperature with an instant read thermometer. Cook’s Illustrated says to take the cheesecake out of the oven at 150 degrees F.